My tag line is “clarity through writing” and I hope that by the time I finish this post, I might find some clarity that I so desperately need. This is not an easy one to write though, so I’m not sure how long this is actually going to take to write. But it’s something I feel like I need to do. For the record, it’s May 26, 2019.
They talk about the stages of grief all the time.
What they don’t talk about is the first raw emotions you feel and how the news of a death hits you.
Today my grandmother, my Oumi, passed away. I got the news this morning and have been processing it all day. This isn’t my first experience losing a loved one, my grandfather on my mother’s side passed when I was 13, but this is my first-time experiencing loss as an adult. I’m also six thousand miles from my family.
May 28, 2019
It’s two days later as I’m sitting here in my bunk trying to write again. It’s been a tough couple of days. As many people are familiar with, the world doesn’t stop turning when you get the news of the loss of a loved one. In my case I was lucky enough to be given the day off but had to go back to work the next day, thankfully it was a light day.
It’s been a couple of days of fluctuating between the depression and acceptance stages as I’ve talked with friends and family as the news has gotten around.
To all those who reached out…thank you. Your support has been amazing.
Finding your way through a cloud of grief has been a struggle that I wasn’t expecting. But, then again, you almost never are.
May 29, 2019
It’s hard to put together more than a couple hundred words a day I’m finding. Each time I sit and think about what I want to write, I get flooded with emotions. Some of these emotions I wasn’t expecting to feel either.
Of course, there’s the sadness over losing my Oumie. She was very special to me, even though I only saw her a few times over the course of my life. But there’s the sorrow that I wasn’t expecting…the sadness I feel for my father who just lost his mom. Despite being across the world, he still called every other weekend- sometimes every weekend- every holiday, and every single birthday in the family.
I haven’t seen my dad’s side of the family since I was fourteen, but I have so many words stored in my head from the special conversations that I was able to share with her throughout the years. Some of these will stay with me for life, because my Oumie was something else! She always had an opinion about something and always had something clever to say. I don’t have pictures to share, they are all somewhere in my parents’ house or on my dad’s computer, but I hold each conversation and what memories I do have of her dearly. Most importantly I’ll always keep the memories of how proud of me she was. These are the memories of her that I have. Phone calls and presents in the mail. They’re different than those that my cousins who lived close to her have.
Probably the most surprising emotion that I’m feeling is guilt. I meant to text her the day before she passed…I did. I meant to let her know that I was thinking about her and that I hoped she was feeling better, that my dad had said she sounded good and that I hoped the hospital was treating her right. But I didn’t. I should have. But I didn’t. And gosh do I feel horrible about that. But I didn’t know….we thought she was getting better. I know there’s nothing I can do.
June 16, 2019
It’s now been three weeks since my Oumie has passed. My dad has come home from visiting with his family and things are returning to normal. I still get choked up a bit when we talk about her, but I’m working through it and moving on. We all are, in our own ways.
There’s one good thing that has come out of all of this, it’s my silver lining. The family, so far flung, has come together and started reconnecting. I’ve talked to a cousin I’ve never met, an aunt I’ve never met, and uncles I’ve spoken to once. All in two weeks. It’s a bit surreal but also so wonderful too. The family is on its way to healing and, I’m looking forward to seeing how we move forward.
So guys…after three weeks of thinking and writing and coping I’m ready to finish this up. Grief is a journey. It’s a journey that is unique to the individual, and there’s no real end date for it. I’ve been through the whole gambit of emotions through the past few weeks, and I know that my journey is far from over. I still have to go home and be with my family and with that I know that will bring back a lot of the emotions I’ve struggled through. And that’s ok, it’s a part of what I need to go through for healing.
My final thoughts for you guys, anyone going through any stage of grief, are this:
It will be ok. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to buck up and move on. Your grief journey is your own. Take the time you need and cope and rebuild. The death of a loved one affects everyone differently and the journey I went through- that I’m still going through- will be different than what you will go through. So, feel your emotions, cry your tears, and lean on the people around you who love and support you. If you need more time, more help, or more comfort…seek it. I found my peace through writing this post and telling some of my favorite stories about my Oumie and I hope you find yours.