Monday, January 09, 2012

Grieving Is Weird.

I know that grief is something that affects each of us in different ways.  It's something so completely unique to ourselves, the same as our fingerprints or the sound of someone's laughter.  There are universally recognized standards of grief and the process of it, such as denial, feeling shaken and upset, being rounded off with acceptance and moving on.

I haven't cried since I found out my Nan died.  I'm not an emotional person, really; I very rarely cry, especially in front of other people.  I realise that other members of my family, particularly her two other children apart from my Dad (who, like myself, grieves quietly and privately), may grieve differently.  When we all met at her house today, I was right.  They were both visibly upset and did cry a couple of times.  The mood in the house was sombre but with a touch of happiness too; we talked about my Nan, we laughed at the silly things she did and said, smiled at the good times we spent together.  Then they started doing things that really bugged me.

My aunt and uncle (who arrived before my Dad did, since he was at work) took it upon themselves to start sorting through my Nan's belongings and throwing stuff out.  I vocalised that I thought it was too soon, that we didn't need to be doing this before her funeral and my Mum agreed, but they kept on taking things out of drawers and boxes, offering things to see if anyone wanted to take it before it was thrown away.  In my mind I'm screaming "She hasn't been gone a week and you're already pillaging her things! What's wrong with you?!" and I simply had to remove myself from the situation because it was making me upset.

It was only while I was outside, taking a breath of fresh air and calming down that I realised; this was how they were grieving. 
It was painful for my aunt and uncle to be in her house without her there.
It was hard for them to sit in her living room, in her chair, to be quiet and still while they were surrounded by her things.
They needed to be up, to be busy, to keep their minds occupied by thoughts of sorting out, tidying up, getting things ready, rather than sit and remember.
While I was happy to sit surrounded by her and the possessions she had worked so hard for and kept for so many years and simply think of her, it was too difficult for them to.  My anger melted away and I went back to the rooms they were in, asked them quietly to come break for a cup of tea and helped them tidy away the last of the things that were out.

Yeah, grief is weird.  We're all feeling the same hurt and upset but we're all reacting to it so completely differently.  What I've learned today, above all things, is that no matter how we're coping with it we have to cope with it together (which can be easier said than done, since my immediate family isn't very close with our extended family).  The most important thing is that we know we're all in this as one and that we're there to support each other, always.

Sorry that this post is kind of rambly, I just wanted to get that off of my chest.  Thanks for reading, guys.  I hope you're all having a swell week so far!



  1. Sorry to hear about Nan :-(I'm assuming that it was your Grammy right? :-( Death is always hard..and people deal in such different ways... Wise of you to see how they were dealing with their pain..Me? I would've been upset...But you handled it gracefully...

    Janette, the Jongleur

  2. I'm so sorry, lovely lady. I know how you feel - when my mom passed away, I didn't cry for three days. I didn't really feel anything. My sisters were very angry that I didn't show my emotion, however Jen knew I was grieving in my own way. Years later, I still will become emotional if a certain song plays or just on a certain special day. When our big kitty passed away, my grieving was different. I cried every day, I fell into a pretty bad depression. I still miss my mom, and mine and Jen's big boy. It's hard, so hard and I know that - so if you ever need someone to listen to you, or even keep you company, please lemme know - k?