Coping with Familial Grief and Loss

Heyyy

The plan was never to post two posts in one day but considering the circumstances today was the best day for this post. This was actually the first post I wrote and over the space of three weeks I have literally stripped it bare. Anyone who knows me personally will know I am currently out of the UK visiting my family after the passing of my Grandma in March. I’m not a good person at coping with grief and loss so there isn’t much advice to be given from me, but I hope that in my experience comes some positivity. 

I first lost someone when I was four years old, it was my Grandad. Considering how bad my memory is I can’t believe I can still remember him but the memories I do have are so vivid I genuinely don’t think I will ever forget him. I was angry for so long, I physically hated him for dying; for missing my big moments, my growth and just not even being around. It took me fifteen years to finally let go; I stood in the Remembrance Garden of the crematorium screaming, crying and letting it all out. I don’t remember much of that day apart from screaming “you were supposed to stay, you should’ve seen me grow up and you died. And there’s no happy ending, this f**cking sucks”. The worst bit about being angry about someone is when you know you can’t get over it, my Grandad isn’t magically going to sit in front of me and apologise for leaving or dying. It was swallowing me whole, and I didn’t think I’d be able to breathe ever again. In October it’ll be 17 years since he passed, I will still cry and I will still miss him but I will breathe and I will continue to make him proud because that’s all I can do.

When I was at my lowest points I remember thinking if I am going to grow old, I want it to be quickly. I didn’t want to stay young; I didn’t want to be a child. I wanted freedom. I grew up too quickly, I took advantage of time and I messed up so badly. My Mormor (my Grandma, I’m half Finnish so that’s what I call her) passed in March. She was ill for a while and I was a terrible granddaughter. I had so many opportunities to be a better Granddaughter, but I put money ahead of family; I went through a stage where working was more important to me than taking at least a week out to come visit my Grandparents and other family members. I don’t have many regrets, but this is my biggest one. She was an incredible woman, she truly loved us to the end and fought till her last breath. She was so proud of the fact I was at university and about to graduate, I knew how proud she was of me for it. Although I am glad, she’s no longer in pain, I just wish I would’ve had longer and maybe she would’ve then seen me finish my degree. Coronavirus stopped us coming out for the funeral, so I didn’t really deal with my grief. I still haven’t, though considering tomorrow is the memorial I am sure it’ll hit me like a train.

Luckily my list of familial grief isn’t long. I don’t think I would be able to cope considering how I refuse to deal with my pain. Over the years I have received a lot of advice to deal with grief and honestly the best advice is ‘get out of the angry phase’. Do whatever it takes to stop being angry. It’s okay and NORMAL to be angry but it can physically break you to be SO angry at someone who is dead and can’t respond to your anger can have big consequences. Unfortunately, death is inevitable, but as I grow older, I really hope that I work through my emotions quicker as leaving them to burden my growth only messes things up more. My favourite thing to do now is reminisce on memories that I have unfortunately forgotten, remembering the love I have for them both and my family who is still alive. I’ve always loved the concept that on your death bed your favourite memories snap in front of you, and my life from now onwards is dedicated to filling that concept with as many good and loving experiences as humanly possible. Losing someone is one of the hardest things you have to go through, but just remember you are not alone. Keep your head up and how loved you are, not only by other people but by yourself.

This post genuinely left me having a breakdown throughout, I still have a lot of things to work through myself including at the memorial tomorrow, but I hope that when they look down on me they are proud of the woman I am and am continuing to become. If you are struggling and feel like you don’t have anyone to speak to, my socials are linked to this blog and I am literally free most the time. I will always make time to help. 

To my Grandad and my Mormor who I would love to envision reading this from wherever they are. I miss you so much. I’m sorry I was angry, I’m sorry I took advantage of our time together and I’m sorry you don’t get to live my future alongside me. I’ll do you both proud though. Always. 

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