Grief Has No Expiration.

10 years. 120 months. 521 weeks. 3,650 days. 87,600 hours. 5,259,492 minutes. 15,569,520 seconds without you, yet most days I can feel the pain just like it was yesterday. Today marks 10 years since I said goodbye to my grandma. From the time I was born the only grandparent still alive was my mom’s mom, but one was more than enough. With both my parents being in sales (mom pharmaceutical, dad medical capital equipment) I spent a lot of time during the week with my grandma. They worked remote when they were not out traveling, but since grandma lived less than 8 minutes from my elementary/middle school she usually was on pick up duty so mom and dad could stay working. I wouldn’t of had it any other way; no offense mom and dad!

She and I had our after school rituals, my brother included when he wasn’t kept after school with activities. One of my favorite was our stop at 7/11. {Almost} everyday we stopped at the corner store for a slurpee and candy of my choice, then headed on the way home just in time to watch 7th Heaven at 4pm. We would sit there and watch for an hour together and then it was homework time. In March we substituted the slurpee for Shamrock shakes. She had quite the sweet tooth ya’ll and I totally blame her for mine! Her famous line was, “I’m up to here (placing her hand at the top of her neck), but I still have room for {insert whatever dessert you can think of here}.” Beyond my baby tooth cavities to thank her for, I also can thank her for my ability to read people without judgement and my love of wearing heels. My grandma was the epitome of “turning the other cheek.” She ALWAYS made an effort to look for the good in someone, but she had a keen sense for when someone was also full of BS. She also was RARELY seen in anything but heels, even at the softball field!

While I could go on and on about the memories I have with my grandma, all that I cherish deeply in the world. There is still so much in the last 10 years she hasn’t been here for. Moments in my life where I wish so badly I could have looked up or out to see her there. There isn’t a day that goes by where I do not think about her nor feel some sort of pain missing her presence. Some may think that is a negative thing, but to me it is not. To me it keeps her memory alive. Just some days hurt more than others. Some days, like today.

Ever hear the quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel?” This is how I feel about grief. Throughout the years you may forget what was said during that hard time, you may forget details of what you did, but you never truly forget how you felt. You might compress it so deep into your mind so it seems as if you forgot, but I promise you if you allow yourself to unzip that file, you will remember it. You may not want to and that is an okay and there may be times where you decide to bring it forward and there may also be times where it happens and you have absolutely no control over it, all are acceptable responses. There is also no specific “time” to where one has to stop grieving, regardless of what they say.

Experiencing loss is something that is never easy and is something that affects everyone in an individualized way. There is definitely something to be said about knowing and understanding the stages of grieving. The days that followed my grandma’s passing my parents, brother and I were all at different stages at different times. I majorly stayed in the anger stage while my brother was stuck in denial, my dad in acceptance/depression and my mom for the most part bargaining with sprinkles of the other 4 periodically. Being in contrasting stages at the same time is not an easy thing. Each person has the way they currently need to cope and not many align with one another. I remember my brother being able to laugh and joke as I sat there feeling almost disgusted that he could be doing so at such a time. I remember my mom bargaining about the “what if we would of done this” and being frustrated because that wasn’t going to bring her mom back. I remember my dad being able on task for the things we needed to get set in place and being annoyed because grandmas memory wasn’t a “to do” list. It wasn’t until weeks later that I understood we all had our own way to go about it, but guess what, that was completely normal. In the years to follow I certainly experienced all 5 stages however, I do not believe I’ve ever fully stepped both feet out of the angry stage.

Stages of Grieving (adapted from healthline.com):

1. Denial– pretending the loss or change isn’t happening

2. Anger– a masking effect, hiding emotions/pain you carry, can be redirected at others and or objects

3. Bargaining– creation of “what if” and “if only” statements

4. Depression– known as the “quiet” stage, isolation from others and responsibilities, feelings of fog and confusion

5. Acceptance– does not mean you’ve moved passed the grief, simply means you’ve come to understand what it means for your life now

When someone means so much to you, no matter how long they have been gone, it’s okay to still miss them, it’s okay to still get angry, it’s okay to still turn away from it and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Healing is an active process. When we are active are we stagnant? Are we on a linear path? No. So why should healing be considered a linear process? It shouldn’t.

I’m a firm believer in feeling what you feel, when you feel it. Emotions come to us for a reason; some we know and understand and others we do not, yet they all are a part of the greater process. And most importantly while you are grieving be true to yourself, to your heart and remember you are never alone.

Rest In Peace Gram 🧡 3.11.10

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