Gratitude & Heartbreak

My husband and I have been going through a lot financially lately. It seems every time we save up some money, a car breaks down or the pipes burst in our house. Lately, I’ve been so stressed out about these events that my addict brain started to believe that the universe was conspiring against us.

Sometimes, it takes an unrelated tragedy to help put things back into perspective.

I received the call on Wednesday. My grandfather was no longer responding to treatment for his pneumonia. His options were limited as he has COPD and pneumonia is often fatal. He chose to stop treatment and move forward with comfort care instead of being placed on a respirator. He was tired. He was at peace with his decision. He was ready, and we understood, but our hearts still shattered.

Yesterday, my family lost a remarkable man; my grandfather. We’ve always called him our gentle giant. Standing over 6 feet tall, he always seemed invincible – like our very own Superman. He was a veteran who would later own his own successful business. That business allowed him to retire early and travel with his wife of over 50 years. He worked hard and loved even harder. I think our mother said it best, “In the end, he may have had weak lungs, but he sure had a strong heart.”

When I woke up this morning, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and loss. I will feel the loss of my grandpa for a long time, but today I find comfort knowing that he is at peace, and was at peace the days prior to his passing as well.

I am especially grateful for my recovery today. I am grateful that I am able to fully participate in all aspects of my life – the good, the not-so-good and the heartbreaking. I am grateful I was able to visit my grandpa in the hospital, hug him, hold his hand one last time and tell him how much I love him and what a tremendous impact he has had on my life.

I find comfort knowing that my grandpa was proud of me for the decisions I have made in my life over the past 3 1/2 years. I am happy that communicating my past struggles with him opened up a dialogue between us that only deepened our bond.

I am grateful I am able to be there for my daughter to help her navigate her way through her feelings of loss and fear.

I am grateful I can be there for my mom, to help her where needed and hug her when words just won’t suffice.

When I was drinking, I was absent. Even when I showed up, I was never truly present for anyone but myself. Recovery has given me my life back and has allowed me the opportunity to be an active participant in the lives of those I love.

I am excited to go to my next Green Bay Packers game, surrounded by season ticket holders who have become like family through the years. I am excited to look up at the sky and know that my grandpa is watching with us from the best seat in the house!

My heart is full today.



12 thoughts on “Gratitude & Heartbreak

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  1. I am so very sorry for your loss, it sounds like you had a special relationship with your grandfather, and how wonderful that he had the opportunity to see you at your best and to be there with you these past years. Hug your mom and your daughter (as I’m sure you are already doing) and when you do, hug yourself a little back…take it easy and may his soul live on through you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiufl tribute you wrote and on how perspective. Wow it is so hard but things get overwhelming until something totally unexpected and then all those other things just feel less catastrophic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate that. Thank you so much. He will be missed for a long time, by a lot of people. I think it’s such a beautiful reflection of his life – to know he was loved by so many!


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