Two summers ago I was going through a particularly hard breakup.

Right in a climactic moment–after he had clicked the phone good-bye and I was gearing up for a giant, heart-wrenching wail–my Grandma happened to call.

I answered, trying to mask my shaky voice.

“Oh, you sound like you were sleeping,” she said.

“No no. I’m actually kind of crying,” I replied.

She thought I was kidding, and called me a rat.

After convincing her my sobs were, in fact, real, we proceeded to have an hour-long girl talk. She called him all the appropriate names and told me I was far too good for him anyway. She soothed me to sleep, called daily to see how I was holding up, and sent me a care package in the mail. I was 23 years old and my 80-year-old grandmother was my go-to. The one mending my heart.

Recently, I lost her.

She went peacefully. The time was right, and she was more than ready for what was next.

It hurt in a way that I had felt before – the kind of hurt that you feel in the pit of your stomach. The kind that makes you heavy. It almost felt like a painful breakup. You knew it was time, and you knew it would be okay. You knew it was better this way. But your heart simply ached. You wanted to call them as you normally would on your walk home from work. You wanted to plan a weekend visit. A Scrabble match. You simply wanted them with you.

Death is weird. It breaks you up but simultaneously brings everyone together. You share wonderful memories and lean on each other and cringe at the weird sandwiches they serve at the luncheon. It makes you appreciate the people you have and the person you had. It makes you realize how minute everything else really is.

How the fact you only went to the gym once last week is not worth stressing about. How it’s SO not a big deal that that guy is now dating that girl. I mean, sure. You were happy together, but now they are, and that’s okay. It makes you realize that the stupid fights you have and the things that piss you off on a daily basis and the streetcar being full AGAIN is annoying as hell but is not worth getting angry about. It makes you realize what is important, and what to let go.

Death is never easy. Life is never easy. But both can be very beautiful in their own way. These past two weeks have been both challenging and lovely. I lost a wonderful friend.

But I gained a wonderful perspective.