The ‘right’ way to grieve…

How do you grieve someone you’re not even sure if you liked?

I spend time telling people, begging people, to be easy on themselves when they grieve. I wish I could cut myself the same break. I got hours and hours without thinking of my grandmother and then BAM – a 2×4 of emotions to the face…

I had one quiet moment by her casket, alone, and I cursed at her. I swore at my dead grandmother. How insolent? I felt so many strange emotions that day… I swore at her and I apologized to her (not for cursing at her, but for feeling like I fell short…), and I whispered how much I would miss her.

How do you grieve someone you feel like you lost such a long time ago?

How do you grieve someone you still had hope for?

I always tried to put up such a front about her. I was fine with not being close to her. I was fine being angry at her. I was fine with her being disappointed in me. I was fine with her insults, jabs, and not taking the time to learn about my disease. The truth is, I wasn’t.

I am still angry. She’s gone now. So it’s over. All of her things are dispersed. There is no letter of apology, there was no sign, there was no feeling standing in her apartment. It was just over. She didn’t look like herself in her casket. They did a beautiful job on her – don’t get me wrong, she just wasn’t herself.

I bought some sharpie’s and some of us wrote something to her on her casket, I wrote her hair looked on point and that I loved her and was sorry.

I don’t dream about her. I don’t feel her in the breeze or the sun on my face or any of the other stupid shit people tell you you will feel when someone dies. She’s just gone. My lap is full of tears and missed opportunities.

I can hear her. I can smell her. I just can’t feel her.

My dissertation is finally moving forward – I’m working… I have so many things to focus on and then I catch a whiff of her perfume and it makes me angry.

The moral of this story is to love the shit out of each other. Don’t waste a single second. I’m not saying don’t be human – get mad. Have opinions. Shout them out from the rooftops. Just don’t ever make the people you love feel small and if you do, apologize. Not a non-apology apology like she was famous for, “I’m sorry you feel like I made you feel that way…” – look them in the eye and apologize because life is fucking short.

Write your kids and grandkids letters, put them in a box in the back of your closet so when you’re gone they can find them… tell them they are smart, even if you think they make terrible decisions, tell them they are worthy, because no matter what they are, tell them you love them, even if you don’t know how to show it, tell them they have a purpose, even if you don’t know what it is, tell them they are beautiful, even if you think their hair is too dark/too short/too weird/if their pants sag too low/if you don’t like their piercings or tattoos, because one day – you will be gone and how they dressed or how their hair was or wasn’t won’t mean shit.

You will be gone and they will wonder if you loved them. If you believed in them. If you found them worthy.

I don’t know the right way to grieve her because towards the end I didn’t really like her. I loved her of course – I made zero effort to be in contact with her because she was so mean. Why did I feel so protective over her when she died?

Why do I still feel protective over her?

Why can’t I feel her? Why can’t she come to me in a dream and just tell me to knock it the hell off and get over it – I mean, I can hear her saying something like that?


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