You Can’t Know Until You’ve Been There

I spoke yesterday about why I hadn’t written as much as usual. I wanted to write a little more since it always helps me to expunge some of these feelings that I have kept buried for a good number of months.

When Gran’s disease started progressing, she started developing some GI issues. Without going into details, she said to me many times both in person and over the phone (as well as to my parents) that she really understood me even more than ever before. She even went so far when referring to a particular food with “that isn’t good for people like us, right Maris?” with her warm smile.

People like us!

I couldn’t believe she said that. It broke my heart she was experiencing what she was. I know she wouldn’t want me to share private things which prompted her to feel this intense connection but it did make me feel even closer to her also. It was nice, in a way, that someone else understood too. I think it is the same emotions we feel when we find other people with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis who have experienced the same things we have. We don’t like that they have struggled so much but it is refreshing to know your feelings are validated and someone else understands.

Still would have preferred her to have not understood… ; )

The last time we really were able to have a coherent conversation, we were in the hospital where we thought she would only be for a few days, maybe a week, instead of six. She said so many things to me that validated a tremendous amount that I had been either second guessing or feeling guilty about. She said for the first time she really understood how it felt to feel so trapped in your own body and just want it all to be over. And she honestly didn’t know how I handled the eating aspect of my life… and she told me to remember how strong I was because I seemed to have accepted that I have no choice but to live this way forever.

Gran told me how wonderful she thought I handled certain situations with my boyfriend. Coming from her, whom I think has the most wonderful heart, greatest values, and the most together head on her shoulders, it meant everything to me to hear that from her.

She also told me that I needed to live life, enjoy things, and not worry so much about seemingly minor things. That does seem like the cliche thing to say when you are passing but it was different coming from her. Our relationship was different so I knew what she really was saying to me. And it will, forever, stick with me.

This was an article written about my grandmother:

I had a note placed on her chest before she was buried promising I would carry out her legacy and continue to help people. She couldn’t have been a more selfless and inspirational woman and I do plan to carry out my promise to her.

Gran, Frank and I


  • Sherri

    This blog brought tears to my eyes…for so many reasons…too many to get into here (we’ll talk GF…:)…but feeling the closeness to the 2 woman I love most in the world…no words…<3

  • Sheila Bergquist

    It is so wonderful that you had that connection with your grandmother. I know how meaningful it was and what a gift. The article about her showed what an amazing woman she was. I think you take after her a lot. Your attitude has always been amazing to me and such an inspiration. I can only imagine how proud she was of you. Peace and love to you.

  • Paula Sanders

    Beautifully written and what a beautiful connection. I understand what you mean about appreciating that connection but wishing your grandmother wasn’t suffering. My sister was diagnosed with UC years after I was. Watching a loved one suffer is hard, but we both feel lucky to have someone so close who we can go to.