The loss of a loved one always has it’s fair share of emotions. Whether it was an untimely departure, or you had time to prepare; grasping the idea that you will never be able to embrace them here on Earth again, is a bitter pill to swallow. For me personally, I have dealt with the loss of three grandparents in the last year. Two of the deaths being four days apart. The other one being a total blind side. With all three deaths, they hit me in a very different way. But I must say, I’m very grateful for the relationship that I had with all three, that equipped me with a very surprising strength during their passing.
People react to the death in different ways, so it is very important not to compare your approach, to the next person’s. There is no “normal” way of coping with this type of loss. Maybe you cry from dusk to dawn, or maybe you attack the day with a warm smile. The way you maneuver your feelings should work for YOU! This journey of grievance is personal, and you don’t have to abide by the “rules of grievance” defined by anyone else. Let me be clear, I advise you not to indulge in any harmful activities, that could possibly lead you down a dark path.
Below, I have provided some helpful tips on navigating this time in your life:
1. Don’t be afraid to talk about their death, and what they meant to your life.
It’s not uncommon to feel alone during your time of bereavement. But please don’t feel like it has to be this way. Open yourself up to family, friends, colleagues, the cashier at chipotle, and anyone else who has a stake in your life. Someone is willing to listen and provide comfort during this time. It’s important for you to talk through your feelings, as it will help you to process them in a healthier way. If you don’t have anyone in your life you feel that you can open up to, try finding a therapist. It shows strength, not weakness, when seeking help. Let me emphasize that you do not have to rush to do this. Again, grieving is a personal journey and you should open up in your own timing.
2. Don’t disregard the importance of self-care during this period of time.
During this time, your normal routine can be disrupted, causing a shift in you physical and mental health. Try your best to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get an adequate amount of sleep. Stay aware of the dangers of becoming dependent of medication, food, alcohol, and other binge-inclined substances. These things may numb the pain for a short amount of time, but they can greatly impede in your healing process.
3. Celebrate the life of your loved one!
Don’t focus on their death, but celebrate the life they lived. I know that it can be tough to overlook the way someone died, especially if it was a tragedy. Yet, their life, especially the time you shared with them, was not all bad. Cherish the beautiful memories, and be sure to continue their legacy through the life you live.
The scar of the loss of a loved one, is a scar that heals over time. But I want to stress to you the fact that this scar is one that you should never be ashamed of. When you look at it, it’s okay to be a ball of emotions. More importantly, this scar will remind you of the privilege and the honor bestowed upon you, by being blessed with your loved one. Let the positive memories give you comfort as you press forward on your journey.
Maybe you are currently experiencing a period of grief. It’s okay if its been one week, 2 years, or 20 years and counting… your emotions are valid!
Below are two poems I wrote in dedication and celebration of my grandparents.
There’s nothing like the touch of my grandmother’s hands.
They were packed with love so vast, that many could never understand.
The way they held me oh so tight,
I’d drift into a realm of protection, with no worries in sight.
With those hands, she was gifted with a special touch.
She fed, she nurtured… with those hands it didn’t take much.
I never dreamed those hands would be taken away from me.
A world without them seemed beyond belief.
Now that she’s gone, those hands serve a new purpose.
They sit ringside to my life, clapping in case I ever get nervous.
Those hands promised to care for me til the end.
I believe that wholeheartedly, for my grandma I could always depend.
Jasmine S. Smith
Papa Don’t You Know…
Papa don’t you know, that you’re little girl surely did grow!
Everyday I put on your armor of wisdom and love, and no it’s not just for show.
All of our long talks have geared me for these days.
The days when you’re no longer here to say.
Say all of the things that made me feel like a princess.
I’m really glad you taught me that life was not a game of checkers, but it’s chess.
Keeping your words in mind, I’ll press forward and make sure my light shines.
Papa don’t you know you were the reason I never stayed behind.
It’s been about a year since you’re no longer here.
I remember you told me to live this life with no fear.
Never in a million years did I dream of us being apart.
Now that you’re gone, I’ll visit you in my heart.
Jasmine S. Smith