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This week has easily been one of the hardest I’ve ever had since I started blogging.

My grandmother (the one who I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog) passed away on Saturday. Her loss was not unexpected after battling Alzheimer’s for ten years, but it has still left me feeling very raw, noticeably sour, and randomly bursting into tears at very inappropriate moments. Ever see a crazy person sobbing uncontrollably at a traffic light? Yep. That was totally me.

Granny Em and Me

There have been other events since then that have basically turned an already depressing week into a giant shit sandwich, none of which are really the right time to get into now, but each one of them have left me at a loss for how to express my feelings accurately enough to put pen to paper… resulting in (mostly) mute frustration all week long. Or in Sprint’s case, loudly and angrily telling their customer service tech exactly where they can stick my malfunctioning phone (I waffle between guilt and pure rage on that).

Also? Today’s my birthday. Yaaaaayyyy….eh. While I’ve made plans with family and friends to try to enjoy the coming weekend (as I’ve mentioned before, my Dad and I share a birthday, and I celebrate Charlie’s today too), I’m experiencing a very weird mix of feelings that are hard to process.


I miss my Granny—one of the most influential people in my life—like crazy. She gave me my first sip of beer at age 8 (I hated it, btw). She is partly to blame for my foul mouth. She taught me how to cross stitch. She helped me tear down wallpaper in the guest bedroom as one of the first things that ever happened at the UDH (and to Shelly Redd on Instagram, thank you for remembering that).

She loved to cook. She loved to rain down affection on her family. She showed me that it’s okay to consider yourself a black sheep and to be proud of what makes you different from the rest. To speak your mind. To let someone know when something is not okay. To humbly joke and explain yourself in ways that only you might understand (“You think I’m dumb? I’m shit. [laughter]”).

I am overwhelmingly grateful for the people in my life who have texted/called/messaged, understood when I’ve forgotten plans, informed other people on my behalf (so that I don’t have to explain my attitude), excused me from blog commitments, and other small gestures that allow me to take care of my grief—whether it’s yelling at someone, crying in the middle of PetSmart, or refusing to speak.

Next week, there will be a lot of posts that were supposed to go live already, so be ready for some updates, including a giveaway on Monday. Thanks in advance to any messages you guys leave on this post, whether they are happy birthday wishes, condolences, or expressions about how awkwardly weird life is that you are sending both to the same person at the same time. Thanks for understanding, and please give a hug & kiss to loved ones.*

*Not from me, obviously… you know what I mean.

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  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. My dad is battling oral and throat cancer currently and has decided not to pursue treatment so I totally understand the random breakdowns, anger, confusion, etc. It’s hard losing a loved one and my thoughts are with you and your family. And have a Happy Birthday even though I know how hard it can be to smile and find joy when it’s raining shit.

  2. I lost a close friend to suicide at the end of November. It has affected me profoundly. I know what you mean and while this birthday celebration may not be the end all be all of birthdays, take comfort in the fact that time will lessen your grief and this time next year, your birthday will be a whole lot more of “sweet” and a whole lot less of the “bitter”. Happy Birthday, Sarah, and my sympathies on your loss.

  3. I’m so sorry. Your Granny sounds like an amazing person. It hurts so hard to lose someone you love so much. I still miss my Grandma 12 years later. Sending lots of light and peace for you and your family.

  4. (Excuse me for my crappy English. I’m Spanish and English classes at high school were a long time ago).

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope you and your family will find comfort in the memories of your grandmother.

    Also, happy birthday with a hug.

  5. Holy Crap! You are reacting in a totally normal way to all of that stress and grief. I’m sorry for the loss for you and your family. She seemed like quite the character. Mine used to give me completely inappropriate books to read (which I loved). And had no patience for fools. At some point when you feel more like it, really celebrate your birthday by doing something that she’d have loved doing with you. Take care of yourself.

  6. so sorry for your loss! I totally hear you on the traffic light thing– I am NOT a crier, but man, alone in the car is a rough time (my grandfather passed away a few months ago and long drives are still pretty awful). I hope you have a light-hearted, calming birthday weekend with lots of dog snuggles. :)

  7. I’m so, SO sorry to hear about your gram. I was very close to mine too, and it hurt like an SOB when we lost her. It still hurts, and she’s been gone for almost 20 years. You don’t have to apologize for anything, or explain anything, to anyone. You hurt, and we hurt for you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  8. I’ve waffled on commenting much before Sarah because when I found your blog it was like you’re my blogging twin and we have a lot in common (which can sound creepy coming from a stranger!). Back in 2009 I had been in my new home for about a year and brought my own grandma over to visit. She had advanced Alzheimer’s and I had moved to town to take care of her. At first I lived with both my grandparents, then helped them transition to full time care, did all the doctor visits for 3 years and saw them every week. Reading about your gran reminded me of those years.

    Six years ago in 2010 my grandma passed away and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her or see something that reminds me of the years we had together. In the past several years the funerals have come often and unexpectedly, I’m actually choking up thinking about my cousin who died 6 weeks before our shared birthday. He was 26. I guess I’m typing all this to say it’s okay to grieve. It’s definitely okay to curse at Sprint – I’m sure they deserved it. Grief can do funny things but I don’t want to NOT feel. One of my favorite writings on grief reads in part “Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gorged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love.”

    I hope you can take some time off from work today and enjoy your day. Soak up the Facebook messages from people you haven’t talked to in a year, get some free cake, sing to your dad (and Charlie), and just be. I had a hard time celebrating my birthday for years after my Grandpa died the day before. It’s okay to love them long and remember the good and curse the disease and cry and smile and be mute.

    (Also, if you don’t want to publish this comment I totally get it and won’t be offended – but I did want to send you a message today in a way that’s a little less public than Instagram :) )

  9. Given that you have had a weird, mixed up, confused week filled with things you are supposed to grieve & things you are supposed to celebrate it seems perfectly normal if you were to be feeling, say, weird, mixed up & confused. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope with time you’ll get the chance to mark your birthday by doing something your Grandma would approve of and given all you’ve told us about her I feel sure this leaves you a LOT of choice, including beer, bad language & speaking your mind (extra points if you can manage all at once!). I’m glad you have wonderful memories of her & years of her love to wrap yourself in.

  10. Sorry for your loss. Sorry you have to celebrate your birthday during such hard times. Come back here only when you are ready. We’ll still be reading.

  11. I am truly sorry for your loss. I lost my grandmother a few days before my birthday last year — and lost the other one a few days before my birthday 22 years ago. It sucks. I don’t feel like we should have to go around without our grandmothers.

  12. I’m so sad to hear about your Granny! I remember the tearing down wallpaper post – it made me smile to see her helping around your house – she was a trooper! And wasn’t it her job to tape down contractor paper in your kitchen? So adorable. Again, SO SORRY to hear this, I know she was a hugely bright spark in your life. And now you’ve got a dedicated guardian angel. So sorry, Sarah!

  13. Sarah, I’m so very sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose a hero, just know you will always have each and every memory either Kodak or in your very own head. I also wish you a happy birthday and know that your granny is watching you waffle with your emotions and she’ll steer you towards dad and a birthday celebration.

  14. Sarah, NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR HOW YOU GRIEVE or how long it takes you to grieve. We all grieve differently. Your grandmother sounds like a hoot and has influenced the woman you are today. End of sermon.

  15. Hey, I get it. My grandma was my dearest and most beloved what can I call her? She was part of my heart and I loved her with everything I had in me my entire childhood. When I was mad at my mom I wanted to run away and go live with her. My mom made me call her and she talked me into staying home (she was probably thinking Yikes :)!) Anyway, today is her birthday. I am 64 and I still miss her. She died when I was on my way moving from Missouri to Wyoming and was pregnant with her great grandchild. Gosh, I wish I could see her again and I wil God willing. Today is her birthday. Praying for you.

  16. I know you’ve heard this way more than you’d want to hear but I’m so sorry for your loss. My eyes are filled with tears typing this because I know exactly how you feel. I lost my grandma a couple years ago and I still haven’t gotten over it. You never completely get over the grief, you just learn to live with it. I hope you enjoy your birthday like I know your grandma would want you to and have a couple cold ones in her honor.

    Love from MN,

  17. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I also want to thank you for posting such a true and raw post. So many can relate and it is very refreshing to hear. My prayers are with you and your family. Sounds like she was quite a girl.

  18. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Grandmom to Alzheimer’s days after my birthday and days before hers (we used to celebrate them together) last year. Hugs, thoughts, and prayers for you and your family.

  19. Sending you a BIG BIRTHDAY HUG!!! Dot, loved nothing more than a party with family, friends, beer, and dancing!!!! I am sure she will be on the dance floor waiting for you!! Sarah, celebrate all your birthday’s as that is what your Granny would want, with the exception of Charlie being the KING ! Praying that God bring comfort to you and all those you love and care for.

    1. Thank you, Tonya. I know it was a loss for you, too. I have a project with Granny in mind coming up this summer, so I’ll need to speak with you on that. I’m hoping it will be a great way for us to use Granny’s paintings that you helped her with! Thank you for taking care of her so well.

  20. First, Happy Birthday! You sound like you have a great family and friends. At the end of the day, and after all the emotional ups and downs that life throws at us, it’s the laughter and companionship that we have with those that mean so much to us that really matters. The rest is just a sentence in the book.

    With respect to your grandmother, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. But reading what you wrote about all that she taught you, is so special. She gave you many gifts that will last forever and that you can pass on to others. How does that saying go? Those that remain in our hearts are never truly gone.

    Smile, laugh, enjoy your day. She’s still with you. And always will be.

  21. I am so sorry to read about your loss. I can surely empathize, my dad passed this year the day before my 50th birthday. I still cry at the most unexpected times. Just know that it’s okay to have mixed up weird days/weeks. It is not fun, but sadly, that’s the way it is. Its also okay to lean on your friends and family. Not sure if these are the right words (I’m horrible at writing), but I’m sure I can speak for all of your readers, we are definitely here for you. I will keep you in my thoughts for healing on your loss. Have a great birthday.

  22. I’m so sorry to hear about your granny. Losing my grandma was akin to losing a big chunk of my heart so I totally understand that empty sadness that has got to be sitting on your chest. Know that it will slowly but surely get better and that there are people who love you and there are people who don’t that still are sending you all sorts of warm fuzzies.

    Try to enjoy your birthday in a happy fun way that your granny surely would have wanted for you.

    Hugs from a random stranger who enjoys your writing and humor. :)

  23. So sorry for your loss. When my father passed away in 2008, I didn’t even realize that the day we buried his ashes was my birthday (I think my wife pointed that out to me as we left the cemetery). Life can be strange and mortality sucks.

  24. It’s so tough to lose someone that influential in your life – I feel for you. All while you’re *supposed* to be celebrating your b-day? Eff it!! Feel your feelings and lean on your friends and family through this time. And remember – your grandmother lives on through her legacy. All of the things that you remember about her, the love that she showed you, when you pass that on, you are her living legacy. Hugs to Charlie, a pet is the best grief counselor there is.

  25. I am sorry for your loss, especially the week of your birthday. Remember, it’s OK to not feel like celebrating your birthday and I think you should be able to grieve as long as you need. I am sure all of your family and friends will understand. You always have next year to celebrate your birthday.

  26. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers!