“Hi Anna, I was hoping you’d be able to help me with some advice on dealing with a big loss. I saw that you recently lost your Grandfather. Today, my Nan, who was the most loving and caring woman in the world, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. My entire family is shell-shocked and the despair I feel is endless. I love her so much and I can’t believe I won’t get to speak to her again.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with this and not let it consume me?”
My Dearest Bad Biddie,
Grief is a bitch. I’m not the first person to say that, and I, unfortunately, won’t be the last. I’m so very sorry for your immeasurable loss, and perhaps sorrier than I would have been prior to January 26th, the day my Yeye passed away, because I was naive enough for the first thirty-two(ish) years of my life to think that losing a grandparent would be sad, but “not that sad” because it’s the natural order of life, right? You and I both know how wrong I was, and the last three months since he’s been physically gone has taught me more than I ever thought possible about how to live the rest of my life.
You are at the beginning of this grief journey. It will consume you, and moreover, you should allow it to. It will come and go in waves. Some days will just be one giant tsunami of despair. Other days will be a few ripples and a tidal wave in the afternoon when you suddenly remember that your Nan isn’t here anymore. But, it is all your ocean, and your ocean was made all the richer and more vibrant because you loved your Nan. Would it have been easier if you didn’t love her? Sure, but some of the most beautiful lessons we learn in life come from the most difficult of circumstances. I hope you remember, in between your waves of despair, that love is always worth it.
I found myself grasping at any straw of hope I could for the first ten days after my Yeye passed away. I wanted, so desperately, to believe that he was still here, somehow. The power went out in our house briefly while I wasn’t home, and it caused my ring light to turn on by itself when it reset. I wanted to believe it was my Yeye sending a message to me from beyond, before realizing that there was perhaps, a more logical explanation. As someone who did not grow up with religion, I found it difficult to grasp what I really believed after my Yeye passed. And so, in an attempt to find what I believe in, I spent hours watching YouTube videos about psychic mediums, Dr. Sam Parnia discussing life after death, and gathering stories from friends and family about their encounters with the supernatural.
And what I’ve realized is this: a lot of psychics are con-artists, but some are so accurate that I have a hard time disbelieving, Dr. Parnia soothes the scientific side of my mind that wants to believe in the spiritual, and many people I know have encountered unexplainable “coincidences” and phenomenons that I can only attribute to some greater power that we may never understand in this lifetime.
I don’t know what you believe in, and I certainly would never want to influence you in a way that goes against your beliefs, but I know what I believe in and what has helped me, and it’s this: so much of life is impossible to understand, and in this, I find comfort, because it has taught me that I do believe that the energies of our loved ones never leave us, even if we can’t see them anymore. Life is but a small blip on our journey, and we’re here to love and make the most noise we can in that blip before we move onto the next chapter. There will never be enough time with the ones we love here on earth, but I know, at least for me, death has taught me to value what’s important in life – people over possessions, spending time doing nothing with my parents, date nights with my husband, making homemade food for my dog because WTF is kibble anyways? I don’t know when my time will come, but I know that I want to spend the rest of my life making the lives of those I love a little easier, because that’s why I do what I do. It’s fun to buy a designer bag with money I earned, but it’s an honor to be able to treat my parents to something they would never buy or do for themselves. If someone asked me if I could choose between my career and my family, my family wouldn’t just win, I’d race to close down my social media accounts faster than my dog would sell me for a cheeseburger (forgive her, she’s not a long term thinker).
It’s going to be a difficult road ahead, but at some point, maybe in the not-so-distant future, you’ll realize that even though you’re still grieving, you’re not consumed by your grief. I had someone tell me that the size of our grief never changes, our lives just expand and grow around that grief so that, over time, the grief takes up less of a percentage of our lives. Until then, I hope you know that your grief is your humanity. Your grief is your capacity to love. And, if you make enough space to honor your grief, it will teach you more than your joy ever could, because without grief, there is no joy.
Your internet hype woman