You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit MIA on social media lately. Or maybe you haven’t, because I’ve been scaling back on tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking, and any other social media posting.
Anywho, even though I’ve been a bit quiet on the social media front, I did tweet this out to prepare you for a very personal blog post. I rarely do personal posts anymore. I used to do them all the time. Heck, that was pretty much the only thing I published when my blog was under the moniker “Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses”.
But once I rebranded to just my name (Jessica Moorhouse) in 2016, I wanted to shift the focus of my blog, podcast and any other content to be about you, not me. I wanted to produce and share content that would help and inspire you on your personal finance journey, instead of just talk about me, me, ME.
That and I was getting tired of sharing all the ins and outs of my life, because honestly, it’s not that interesting. Don’t believe me? Since I’ve become self-employed, this is what my days look like: wake up, work in my home office for 8-10 hours, work out (or try to), watch TV, read, then go to sleep. SOOOO EXCITING, RIGHT?
But still, there are times when I don’t just want to write about what you didn’t know about RRSPs or 5 things you should know about investing. Sometimes I just want to talk to you as a friend and use this wonderful blogging platform to share what I’ve been going through. Because even though my days are still get up, work, work out, watch TV, read and sleep, sometimes things happen to throw that perfectly scheduled routine out the window.
Like when my grandpa dies, two years after my grandma dies.
Can I ask you a serious question? How did you react when you got the call that a close family member passed? Did you cry? Did you hang up the phone and throw it across the room? Because I literally have no idea what the right way to react to something like this is. Whenever someone dies in a movie, it usually starts with the main character hearing the news, tears rolling down their face, then cuts to the funeral where everyone is in black and sobbing underneath their big sunglasses. But that’s what happens in the movies. That’s not what happens in real life.
When I got the news, I was sitting on my couch, watching Gossip Girl (of all shows!), while eating some homemade stew I’d reheated in the microwave. I’d been getting updates throughout the week from my mom, letting me know that it was looking like my grandpa was going to be moved to a hospice fairly soon. I think the whole family presumed it would go the same way as my grandma. She had leukemia, but her decline was relatively slow. I had time to fly back home to Vancouver, visit one last time, then 3 months later she was moved to a hospice then passed away a few weeks later.
My grandpa’s death was sudden. We obviously all knew he wasn’t going to be around that much longer, but I think we all thought we had a few more weeks. But we didn’t. It was the Thursday that week that I got the call. And you know it’s the call even before you pick up the phone. Because, and this is my millennial showing, people don’t call unless you’ve prearranged a call or there’s an emergency.
After the call, I didn’t know what to do. I felt frozen. I also felt heartbroken because from that day forward I’d no longer have maternal grandparents. I still have my paternal grandmother, but this realization made me feel so old. Like it won’t be long before more people in my family pass on, and then eventually I will be on my deathbed.
I know, that got dark real quick, but I honestly don’t think of death as something dark or morbid. It could be because I still cling on to my Catholic upbringing and believe that death is just the next chapter. That belief is what’s helped me hold it together and not fall apart. And my grandparents were devout Catholics, who went to church every day and did the rosary every night. Knowing that gives me comfort because I know they were preparing themselves for this for years and are now together again.
Still, death isn’t an easy thing to witness or even truly comprehend. The only other experience I’ve had with it (besides my grandmother’s passing) was when my husband’s dad passed. He suffered from MS most of his adult life and passed away about 6 months before we got engaged. I won’t go into the details, but that was a really tough time for my husband and was my first experience with death and the aftermath.
Death puts things into perspective. Before my grandpa passed, I was actually having a pretty hard time. From the outside, you wouldn’t know it. Everything’s going just fine in my professional and personal life. But ever since my husband and I returned home from Christmas in Vancouver, I’ve been kind of depressed. I chalked it up to the winter blues, not exercising enough, dark days and nights, and working alone in my home. This winter depression usually pops up every year, but it’s never lasted this long before.
That’s actually a big reason why my husband and I went to Mexico a few weeks back. I thought it would get me out of my slump. Maybe I just needed a vacation. Maybe I just needed some time away from social media. Maybe I just needed a few margaritas and some naps on the beach.
For the week we were in Mexico, I completely forgot about all my worries back home. We had the best time, never brought our phones with us, and truly lived in the moment. But the minute we stepped back in Toronto, that same feeling was there waiting for me. Then I learned about the “travel blues,” and thought maybe I was just sad the vacation was over. There had to be a reason why I was feeling this way and why it wasn’t going away!
Then, I got the call that my grandpa passed. That, as you may guess, was the last straw. I stopped answering emails. I stopped working on some longer-term projects I had in the queue. I started sleeping in later. I had literally zero motivation to get out of bed and make myself useful. I just couldn’t be bothered. What’s the point anyway? Why even try at all?
Ever felt like that? It’s the worst feeling in the world. And no one on the outside understands because from the outside you just look lazy, entitled, and unproductive. But depression is a real beast. It’s invisible, but it’s damn powerful.
That being said, I’ve always been able to snap out of it eventually. And, as weird as it sounds, returning from my grandpa’s funeral is what did it. Hanging out with family all last week reminded me what’s truly important in life. It’s the people in your life that’s important. Nothing else. Period.
So, to wrap things up (and thanks for reading by the way), I wanted to share something really special with you. It’s something I’m so grateful I did because I can share it and listen to it for years to come.
In 2015, in my first season of the podcast, I recorded this interview with my grandpa. He shared his life story with me, and now I can share it with you.