I know that this is a topic that nobody wishes to speak openly about however the fact remains that the majority of us have dealt with losing someone we love and care about. Whether it happens unexpectedly or with time, the one thing that doesn’t change is that the pain feels the same. In my life thus far, I’ve had to deal with the loss of my father, great-grandparents, uncles, and other family members.
The best way that I have found to help me deal with their loss is just remembering all of the good times and finding comfort in knowing that they will suffer no more. I can say that it does feel entirely different and more painful when it is someone you are extremely close to and for me that person is my grandfather.
Just last week, we honored his three year Angelversary as my mom refers to it and I remember the day as if it were yesterday. In my heart, I know that he would want us all to continue living our lives and to cherish all of the memories that we shared together. The stories of the times we shared together are what keep me going.
I am so thankful that I kept one of the best voice mail messages that he ever left me so that I could listen to his voice whenever I felt the need to hear it. He wasn’t just my grandfather or another dad to me, he was my friend and I can honestly say that he definitely took a piece of my heart with him.
See the sad truth is that my dad passed away shortly after I turned eighteen. I didn’t see him much up until that point because he and my mom got divorced when I was eight. After that, he immediately moved to New York where his life took an unfortunate turn. While I do have wonderful memories of him from when I was much younger, I was actually more relieved than I was sad because it meant that I no longer had to worry about him.
I also do not have vivid memories of his parents as I was very young when we would visit them in New York. My paternal grandfather passed away when I was just a little girl and I attended my grandmother’s funeral about 16 years ago. I spent the majority of my life living with my mother and her parents because I was that child that bounced back and forth between houses because I wanted to. The love that I have for my grandparents is indescribable. My Grandfather essentially took on the role of being my dad.
In 2008, I heard the words that I never wanted to hear which was that my Grandfather had lung cancer. That one word that has caused so many people in this world horrific pain both physically and emotionally. The one word that you once selfishly said would never affect your own family. Well unfortunately we can never be prepared for news like that. It’s what you do afterwards to accept it and proceed with a course of action if there is one. In his case, he was very lucky to be diagnosed so early and the surgery was a success. Thankfully he did not have to go through either chemotherapy or radiation. With the grace of God, I was confident that I was going to have him around forever or so I thought.
Fast forward to almost four years later, the stupid cancer came back and this time, there was nothing that the doctors could do for him any longer. I knew that I had to prepare myself because we had no idea as to how much time we had left with him. Three days after leaving the hospital, he passed away peacefully as he slept in his favorite chair in his room. The one thing that I believe that we all find comfort in knowing that he is in a better place and will no longer be in pain.
As I sit here with that perpetual lump in the back of my throat trying to hold back the tears, I could only say that losing him has been by far the most devastating thing that I have ever had to endure however every one of us had to be strong so that we could be there to help my Grandmother endure the pain of losing her husband of more than fifty years.
I have come to the realization that everyone deals with the loss of a loved one differently. It’s up to you to find a way to get through it so that you can find a way to move on. Nobody can tell you how you should grieve, how to deal with it or expect you to just pick up the pieces and move on as if nothing ever happened. It’s a very emotional and personal thing that impacts your life in a major way and in time, you will find that it does get easier.
If at any moment, you feel like crying or screaming or just venting, just know that it is okay and perfectly normal to experience so many emotions all at once. I still have my moments where I find myself either staring at my grandfather’s picture or just staring at the ceiling. Sometimes when I hear his favorite song, I either cry or I smile.
I hope that after reading this, you find comfort in knowing that you’re only human and how you choose to grieve over the loss of a loved one is both personal and private but the one thing that we have in common is that we all have some amazing guardian angels watching over us.
May they all rest in peace.