Thanks for hanging around everyone! I’ve been MIA for the last week or so, and that’s mostly because a week ago today, I received the sad news that my grandma passed away. Without getting too much into detail, though she had lived a long, full life, and hadn’t been doing well in recent months, her passing came as a bit of a surprise to me.
I thought I would use this opportunity to share some things I learned when it comes to dealing with the loss of a loved one, friend, pet, or anyone or thing that you care about.
It’s totally okay to cry if you feel sad. In fact, I would highly recommend it. Crying releases toxins from your body and is a completely natural response to emotional and physical pain. So, in private or in the company of your loved ones, cry it out.
Death isn’t something everyone is comfortable talking about. In fact, it kind of becomes the uncomfortably large elephant in the room when you’re at the visitation and funeral. Chances are, however, the feelings you’re having are also being experienced by your loved ones and it’s totally okay to talk about it. Find comfort in each other and in knowing you aren’t alone in your mourning. I spoke to my mom (it was her mom who passed away), and we came to realize that we both were experiencing feelings of guilt. Guilt for not visiting grandma enough and guilt for feeling relieved that she was gone, because it meant her suffering had ended. It makes you feel so much more connected when you know that the feelings you’re having are normal and that you aren’t alone in feeling them.
There may be some things you need to say, that you don’t necessarily want to say to anyone in particular. Or, maybe there are things you need to say to the person who passed away, that you never had the chance to say. It’s amazing what a sense of peace writing your thoughts and feelings down can bring you. Write a letter to the person who passed and tuck it away. Write about your anger, your sadness, your relief, or your guilt. Once you’ve written it down, you’ve expelled it. Close your journal, take a deep breath, and see how much lighter you feel. Any time you start to feel that way again, go back and re-read your previous entry and then tuck it away again.
Lean on the people around you for support. Call your friends, spew word-vomit at your significant other, ugly cry in front of them. That’s what they’re there for. Don’t feel guilty or feel as though you’re inconveniencing them with your feelings. Chances are they will need you to be their shoulder to cry on at some point in the future.
5. Take the Time You Need
I’m lucky to have a very supportive boss and workplace. I left work in the morning after receiving the news that my grandma had passed away. The following day, I worked remotely, returned to work on Friday, had the visitation on Sunday, the funeral Monday, and had planned to return to work on Tuesday. Instead, Monday night I messaged my boss asking if I could take a bereavement day on Tuesday. I explained that the previous few days had been emotionally exhausting and I just needed time to be with myself. He was completely understanding. Initially I felt guilty for asking for the following day off, when I had already been in and out of the office over the last week. Then I realized that I didn’t need to feel guilty. That it was okay to take care of myself and take the time I needed to relax and recoup and process everything that had happened over the last few days. It was okay to lay in my bed all day, binge-watching Heartland and eating a bowl full of dill pickles. If that’s what I wanted to do (which it was), that’s what I would do (which I did).
Losing someone or something will never be an easy thing. It’s painful and it’s hard, it’s sad, and lonely and depressing and exhausting. But it’s inevitable and I find so much solace in having learned what I did this time around.
Have you lost a loved one? Do you have any tips for coping? I would very much love to hear them. Leave me a comment below. x