Webster Merriam defines Grief as : deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement.
On Friday, November 16th, 2018 my life forever changed. My grandmother passed away around 6pm. This was shocking for me as my family and I had just left the assisted living facility visiting her, praying for her, and surrounding her with love. It's when you know something is coming but nothing can prepare you for experiencing the death of a close loved one.
I learned a lot about grief after her passing. My grandmother health had decline over the years and I thought I mentally prepared myself for what was to come. I would often say that if something happened to hear that I would not be available for a while.
I visited home a few weeks prior to her death and she didn’t look the same. I spoke with my mom about it because I was concerned. I shared it with some of my closest friends as I was worried. I tried my hardest to focus on work, life, and to pray.
Praying at a time when something feels off is hard yet, I prayed. My prayers weren’t only for me but for my family. On Tuesday, November 13th, I received a voicemail from my dad telling me to call my mom. I spoke with him that same day less than an hour before his voicemail. His voicemail was cryptic. I knew immediately that something was wrong. I called my mom and she told me that my grandmother was moved from the nursing home to the hospital. I asked her what could I do and she said come home.
I almost hesitated and yet, I knew I needed to leave to go back home. I left work immediately, went home and threw some clothes in a suitcase and was on the road. Driving down I had all of these thoughts running through my mind. Like what would I say when I saw her and I prayed she would be well.
I made it to the hospital that night I believe my mom and family were relieved when I arrived because I ended up at the hospital alone standing over my grandmother looking her in her eyes. Rubbing her hair as she tells me “Not to cry.”
You see the thing about grief is even though the definition states it’s caused by bereavement I had seen her before in this place. I felt I was prepared for this moment years before it happened.
"Nothing prepares you for losing a loved one
unexpectedly especially when you feel as if you
have more time with them."
The days that lead up to her day of rest were tumultuous, stressful, and uneasy for me. No one ever shared with me "How to prepare to watch someone die or health decline significantly within 4 days." I don’t believe anyone could prepare me for all of those moments.
I had some awesome and amazing friends I could talk to but it’s never easy when you lose a parent. My grandmother was so much more than just a house I would visit on the weekend or during the summer. My grandparents raised me and my siblings. I was ten months old when we came to stay with her and I lived with her until I was ready to leave home. Fly the coop as they say.
"I have all of these beautiful memories and lessons
that she taught me. So I felt as if I was losing all
that as I saw her preparing to take her rest."
What I would like to share with you about grief is that it doesn’t go away overnight! It takes time and is different for all. Grieving well isn’t this metaphor of how I held it together. NOPE. For me it is simply saying that though there were numerous things I was faced with I remember the words she said, “ Don’t cry” well I did.
She knew who I was and to her I was that same 6 year old little girl who would stand at the screen porch and cry when my mother would come to her house for a visitation. She was the one to console me. Though I didn’t cry at that moment or even at her celebration of life.
It happened with months to come and I have experienced other emotions as well. There isn’t a perfect way to grieve. Everyone grieves differently. If I had to say one thing about grieving well it would be to never forget and be thankful for the time spent, lessons learned, and sacrifice.
Over these past few months I have things that happen that will remind me of how great of a woman my grandmother was/is I smile. Sometimes I cry because those memories can be so heartfelt. The holidays that followed after her passing were the hardest and I was reminded of how even though my grandmother isn’t here physically her presence is missed.
If you are going through any type of lost, grief, or healing. I shared this around the holiday season. Know this:
“My prayer is that throughout your grieving process and the days to come that you are resilient, that you keep your smile, that you ask God for peace, and that you share. Personally, I am continually learning that it’s okay to not be as excited for holidays or birthdays because you missed that loved one. I am sure and know the reason for the season is Jesus Christ. It’s more than presents and it is about cherishing the memory of that loved one. Being present in the moment to love on the ones who are here and holding our hands throughout this process. It’s hard as well. So if you have a friend, family member, or loved one who is still grieving don’t rush them through this process. I’ll speak for all of us we know we can’t stay in this place, we know that everyday it will get better, and we have our faith. Grieving isn’t a sign of weakness or lack of faith. It’s a sign that you miss someone who is no longer here that you truly loved.” -S.D.
I’m in a different place now from when I originally wrote the post above during the holidays. Yet, I still have my days. Whatever you do whether you are a friend of someone who is dealing with grief or if it’s you. Remember that your loved one lives on in you and that there isn’t a perfect way to grieve.
I heard this quote recently "Death isn't the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us." - Author Unknown
Grieving well is keeping your loved ones memory alive, passing their legacy on, and continuing life even when it maybe hard.
“Embrace God, Love You, & Be Fashioned for Him.”
- Shishandra D.