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Let's talk about ... Grief

My grandma passed away about two months ago. Grief is so weird. In my experience the last eight weeks, I’ve learned there are some things in grief that you have to do and others that you must make yourself feel

For a little context, my grandma was the on-the sidelines-of-every-a-sporting-event, shared-every-holiday-together kind of grandma. She was everywhere in our lives, even if she wasn’t nearby. She was also everywhere in our lives even when dementia took her from us. In these same almost eight weeks I’ve learned that she is still everywhere. That hurts. That also helps.

There were a couple of things early on that I had to do. These same eight weeks later, there are definitely things I still haven’t made myself feel

I wrote her obituary. I prepared and delivered a eulogy. I did the things asked of me. 

One of the first times I felt her absence was in the middle of giving her eulogy. I locked eyes with my grandfather as I started talking about their love. My eyes immediately welled up with tears. I remember saying, “Whoops can’t look at Grandpa right now.” I really said that into the microphone in the middle of my grandmother’s funeral. I turned my body and faced the pews on the other side of the church. I regret doing that. I should not have been so concerned with doing a good job reading my well-prepared eulogy that I missed out on feeling something powerful. 

I did a lot in those early days of grief. I showed up as the daughter, sister, cousin, and granddaughter I needed to be (p.s. I am referring to the days before accidentally shunning my grandpa at the funeral). Quite frankly, as a cripplingly empathetic person, I think I was afraid to let myself feel. I was sad enough feeling sad for my mom, brothers, cousins, and grandpa. If I let my own emotions enter the mix … system overload.

I know “everyone grieves differently” and I shouldn’t be critiquing how I handled myself. But, I think there are lessons in everything. Maybe my sweet grandma is trying to teach me one last lesson – to feel the hard things with the same tenacity that I feel the good things. 

Allow me to compare my behavior with my seven-year-old nephew’s. As we were exiting the chapel, my grandpa (who gets around by electric scooter), was visibly having a tough time. My nephew, without a minute of hesitation, ran by anyone who was in his way and grabbed the armrest of his scooter to walk beside him. He felt and then did

I hope people who were there that day remember his moment before they remember mine.

I know grief doesn’t really end. There are more lessons to be learned in this department. But, for now, I will say worry more about what you’re feeling and don’t give much concern to the optics of what you’re doing.

You all will just have to take me for my word here. I just had the most ironic and perfect realization. I mean, we are being pretty open since I just told you the guilt I am carrying from one of the most vulnerable moments of my life. Below is a real excerpt from the eulogy I gave that day. 

My grandma emulated the statement that ‘people don’t remember what you said, they remember how they made you feel.’” 

I don’t know that I could construct a better ending. Feel your feelings. Yes, the sad ones too.

An affirmation to try: 

I will give myself grace as I navigate grief. But, I won’t close myself to lessons that can serve me in other areas of my life.

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