Mourning a granddaughters death: I feel like a puddle melted on the floor | Nancy Eshelman – pennlive.com

Posted in Tattoo Shop on Sep 12, 2020

In October 2014, I gave up my space here so my granddaughter Tara could share her feelings about losing her friend to addiction.

She wrote: "Another friend is gone, out of my life forever. Smart, beautiful, young and so full of life, she fell victim to her demons. Something happened that night to convince her to use again after working so hard to stay clean.

Ill never know what that something was, but what I do know is I will never hear her laugh again or see her smile. All I have is memories and pictures, hundreds of pictures of us, laughing, dancing and just being young.

Here I am, almost six years later, trying to make sense out of losing Tara. Smart, beautiful, young and so full of life, my granddaughter fell victim to her demons last week. My funny, thoughtful Tara is gone, and I dont see a way out of the pain.

Tara, the third of my son Bills children, was 31. Her whole family lived with me for the first few years of her life. Then she came to live with me again in her teens. She was outgoing and funny and smart. She impressed people. If she applied for a job, she was hired. When her father died, she took it upon herself to talk to everyone at his funeral.

But she had demons. It was a cycle. She did rehab and counseling and all the right things. Until she didnt.

Im not nave. Ive seen a lot of addiction. I could glance at Taras blue eyes and tell you if she was using. In the past months, she wasnt. She had been clear-headed, attending weekly counseling sessions, totally upbeat. I let myself feel a tiny bit of hope.

Then, I got the phone call that makes my heart ache.

I keep thinking back to a couple of weeks ago. We had a family gathering, and Tara arrived with pink hair and boxes full of flowers. She had stopped at an Amish stand and had the woman make bouquets for me, her mother and each of her two sisters.

She insisted that day on family portraits, the sisters, the mom, me. Then just the sisters. Her with her mom. Her and her son.

She chirped about her new tattoo. She had found an old letter from her dad that ended with I love you baby Dad!! She had taken the letter to the tattoo parlor and had the words copied in her dads handwriting on her lower arm.

I know I disappointed her because I didnt share her enthusiasm for her tattoo, or any tattoo. But she just joked about me living in the 1950s and fetched a vacuum and cleaned my car.

Tara always let you know if she loved you. She was a hugger and a giver. She told me often that she wanted to be as strong as I am.

Thats ironic today when I feel like a puddle melted on the floor.

It fell to me to tell her son she was gone. I would rather have ripped out my tongue. Just 14 months ago, I had to tell him his father had fallen to the same demons. This man-child, at 15, is an orphan due to addiction.

Just a week earlier, Tara had taken her son to play miniature golf. Then they went swimming. She had been seeing him a lot recently, scheduling fun things together, renewing their relationship in her sobriety.

And now, its over.

All of it is over, except for the pain.

Almost six years ago, Tara wrote this: "Death isnt an easy thing. We all experience the passing of a loved one at some point in our lives, but when its so unexpected and happens to such a young person, somehow it seems worse.

I find myself asking how Im going to get myself through these next few weeks while this wound is still fresh. People always tell you that it gets better, but Ive learned that it never gets better. You just learn how to cope with it and move forward in your life without that person.

Tara, I cant say it any better.

NANCY ESHELMAN: columnist1@verizon.net

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Mourning a granddaughters death: I feel like a puddle melted on the floor | Nancy Eshelman - pennlive.com

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