Losing any member of the family is hard. For anyone. Thankfully at the time of writing this I have not necessarily lost a lot of members in my family though. Which is good. However as I age others around me also age and even thinking about this can be a damper on anyone’s mood.
The first major death I remember was when I was 9. My dad’s mom was in the hospital. She had a stroke. She smoked heavily. She also was near unresponsive after a surgery and essentially a person in a coma on a bed. This was the first time I had encountered death and it was never easy. I remember this because my dad was going to and from the hospital and I had made a card for my Nanny. He brought it there and I had wrote something so innocent as “I hope you get better soon, Please try to eat something, anything to help you be strong.”. The next day I had woken up and seen that there was the card sitting on the table. When I had asked my dad if he forgot to bring it he explained that she had moved on. I was so young that I of course was sad that my Nanny was gone however I didn’t really understand the full experience of it. I seen her often however due to the heavy smoking and being asthmatic It was never for super long periods of times either.
The next time we lost someone was my Mom’s dad. My Grampie. This sucked. I was 20 or 21. I was at work. I was actually arguing with my Boyfriend (Yes, The same one I am with now!) and I was at work with my phone turned off. He was at a restaurant with people he worked with and then I had turned on my phone. I was supposed to be working over night too. I checked my messages and seen that I had some from my family. And if I could get there I should as it was not looking that great with him. I remember seeing him on the Monday the same week and he seemed great and on the mend. My Grampie had cancer which we found out in the fall before and he passed in the spring. This was a Saturday and then he was in the “Coma like state” from the afternoon/morning and passed just before Midnight, on Saint Patrick’s day. My Grampie was in the navy so we thought what better day for him to go then one celebrating some booze and parties. I felt also an immense amount of guilt with the passing of my grandfather because I wasn’t exactly there as much as I liked. I would say I was the closest of all the grand kids because I would stay over at my grandparents often, however I did not have a license at this time and was working a new job so I was picking up as much shifts as possible for this. I feel like I missed some of the moments that I wanted to be there for.
The next few deaths happened super quickly. There was a man in our life who was basically another grandfather to our family. He also passed of cancer. This was on Good Friday. By this time I had my license and any moment I had I would be at the hospital with my dad or just saying hello. His wife is still very close to our family and I cannot wait to introduce her to our son. I feel like I visited him a lot because it was something that I felt I lacked with my Grampie. It was extremely tough for me when he passed as I was with friends and family when he let go of his life here and I had to work all weekend. With it being Easter I was scheduled for shifts and knowing that no one would probably cover them I tried my best to make them covered for the funeral. It was extremely tough but I knew I had to do that. I was thankful I was able to spend the time I had with him. Right after his death, another family friend whom my mom would babysit their kids had passed too. This was a month after. It was completely out of left field and unexpected. She was in the hospital with a virus or something and came home that night, and then had a stoke or something and was just gone like that. Her husband is on Facebook, as is the wife of the previous man I mentioned. So we do keep in touch a bit that way also.
Being there when seeing someone in the “coma like state” is heartbreaking. You feel like you want to do more and it never is easy the more times you do it. I can say that begin 31 years old I was thankful that the people in my life that we did unfortunately lose had left us relatively quickly. To think that people sometimes are in this silent state for a week or more is hard for me to even wrap my head around. It will be a lot of waiting and hoping that something changes even though deep down you know that it wont be changing. I cant imagine how hard it would be for losing other family or friends who you were extremely close with.
I think it is important to also remember. Everyone grieves differently. There is no right or wrong way to remember someone or to accept that they are gone. I know for me I tend to put humor into death. Not because I think that its funny but because I have no other way to handle it. That would be my coping mechanism. The best thing you go do for someone who is going through the grieving process is to just be there. Support them even if they would like the silent support too. You can still be there for someone even if it isn’t in a way that you need them. And if the person wants to be left alone for a little bit it is okay to let them have space too.
Have you lost someone close to you?
What are some things you did to cope?
Let me know in the comments below!