It’s been three years. One would think I’d have worked through my emotions about losing my niece Jody to cancer by now. I haven’t.
This came up on my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago and my immediate thought was, “I need to share this with Jody”. It’s been three years since breast cancer took her away. One would think I wouldn’t think those thoughts anymore.
For those of you new here…Jody was my niece. She was only 4 years younger than me. You can see us in the photo below with her brother Jeremy. You can read more about our relationship HERE.
I spent lots of time in the back of Jody’s parent’s station wagon. It looked much like the one in the first picture of this post…that terrible green and woodgrain. The backseat was backward just like in the picture. We would sit back there and sing…Some of our favorites were the Seasame Street theme song, Do-Re-mi from the Sound of Music, and Top of the World by The Carpenters. Back then there weren’t recordings to sing along with so it was all acapella. I’m sure we sounded terrible. Well maybe not. Jody had a great voice!! We sure had fun.
As September rolls around the anniversary of Jody’s death comes. I’ve been trying to figure out why I haven’t been taking it the best.
Part of it is that I know Jody really did love me unconditionally. Some people flip the saying “unconditional love” around but when it came right down to the wire, they don’t. Jody did love me like that and is one of the few people who I ever really felt it from besides my own kids and husband.
Jody was with me and in my family, growing up at the same time. Many of my perspectives about my brothers or parents were the same perspective she had. She knew all of my history. We loved the same movies…listened to the same music…wore the same styles…lived through 80s hair. She knew how straight my hair was and how hard I struggled to make it curly. She knew my hair wouldn’t take a perm. She lived through home perms with me.
She knew the boyfriends before I met Kramer, my husband who passed away. Jody knew it all and loved me in spite of it all.
I really miss that kind of relationship, and the hardest part is that there is no way to get that with anyone else. I can’t go insert another person into that…man, I miss her.
Nowadays I get more teary-eyed over Jody vs Kramer. That bothered me and I’ve tried to understand it. How can I get more teary-eyed over Jody?
If you all remember, 2019 was a hard year for me. I lost Kramer in June and then Jody in September. Cancer took them both.
I think I was still in shock and heavy with grief over Kramer’s passing when Jody passed.
Being I lived with Kramer, grief was there every day. I was constantly reminded he had died when I didn’t hear his alarm clock…when he didn’t come home from work…when we didn’t do our usual things…when it was me who changed the furnace filter…when I ate supper alone and slept alone. When grief is thrown in your face every day, you eventually have to work through it. That’s how it is with Kramer.
I talked to Jody regularly. We texted often…but it wasn’t every day. I depended on her emotionally but not physically as we didn’t live in the same house and lived two hours apart.
I think I could only handle so much grief at a time…I think grief for Jody got set aside.
I’ve come to a place where I feel okay with my life without Kramer. Do I love it? No, but, I’ve been alone for three years now. I still miss him terribly and always will but I can trust myself a little more now. I probably won’t get teary-eyed in public. Well, I might get teary eyed but nothing super noticeable. I can handle the triggers and keep them at bay much better. I can talk about him. I can tell the good and bad and not memorialize him as perfect. I can handle the house and yard. I can make the decisions without trying to figure out what he would have done. I’ve come to a new place I don’t really have a word for…maybe acceptance??
I think all of that work I’ve done on grieving him has opened me up to now work through the grief of losing Jody. It’s both a blessing and a curse…wonderful that I’ve gotten through the toughest part of grieving him, but awful because I’m that much time further away from my life with him.
The good thing I know is that I’ve done this. I’ve grieved before. I can do it again. I know it gets better and most of all…I know grief is part of life. I know that grief only hits really hard if you were truly loved and loved in return…and the hardest grief of all comes from the loss of those who unconditionally loved us and we felt that love.
I’ll take unconditional love even if it means grief in the end any day. The love is worth the pain.
No worries…I’m totally okay. Just hit a rough spot.
Love you Jody!! Thanks for the 49 years but more than that, thank you for unconditionally loving me. That love did and still does mean the world to me.