I remember standing in front of my Grandfather’s casket at the funeral home completely perplexed as to why I wasn’t crying. My Stepmom, Lynn, observantly noticed my furrowed brow and the confusion in my eyes as I looked at him. She put her hand on my shoulder, and,”Jordan, you appear confused. Care to share?” I nodded, never taking my gaze off of him, and, “That’s not him. He was full of life. He was a best friend to me. Why aren’t I crying. It feels disrespectful.”
She nodded and quietly leaned in a little. “Jordan, it’s ok. Everyone grieves differently, and often, everyone grieves differently each time. Reason can be unreasonable here. Keep doing what you’re doing right now. It’s palpable. I can feel it.”
I cherish that moment, have carried the treasure of that perspective with me since. It firmly felt to be Acceptance with the quaternity of the other 4 grief stages as its heartbeat. Then to now, that moment is still the same, frozen in time, like trauma is always fresh. Though, this trauma, this influence, was treasure.
That afternoon, back at their home, my Grandmother took my hand and led me into their closet. Once in, she actually pennied the door shut or some such, basically locking me in. “I’m not letting you out until you steep in there a bit. I know how much you loved him. I know how much he loved you. We were married for 66 years when he went. I’m not letting you out of there until you steep in that feeling you’re having. It’s strong. And, I’m not letting you out until you find that one thing of his you feel to keep with you. You find that keepsake, Jordy, and I’ll set you free, but not a moment before, not up for discussion. Go on. Find it. Find what you need.”
I was in there a while. And, then I saw it. His brown and green tweed fedora from his 1st trip to New York in 1927. I’d always thought it was so dapper and dandy and all those great words from the 20s, and I was in my Roaring 20s. For the first time, I noticed his initials inside. ERH. I had never seen them before in the hat as it was always on his head, or flipped off and plop-dropped on the hat hook inside their front door.
Plopped it on just so like he did with a little flourish on the brim.
Knocked on the wood door of my prison bars from the inside, rattled my own cage.
“No foolin’ around here, Jordy. I mean it now.”
“Nanny. Ok. I’m ready.”
She opened the door, emancipated me with my new-to-me fedora.
She had never left. Sat on the side of the bed the whole time listening, listening in powerful, unseen witness vigil. Thank you, Nanny.
Thank you Nanny & Earl, and Lynn.
The Fedora. It’s my fave hat.
Credit to Dr. Eric Perry’s post Understanding the Grief & Loss Cycle for inspiring The Fedora. I was glad to be reminded.
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