Everyone has been through all types of experiences, whether they be traumatic, emotional, physical or anything in between. These experiences tend to hit people and sometimes they hit us hard. Personally, experiences like these hit me really hard and I am just now learning how to cope.
At the end of my junior year, my life became a living hell. And honestly, I wouldn’t even call that an exaggeration. Backstory: my mom’s dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010. If you know nothing about the disease, let me educate you a little bit. The premise of the disease is that your memory starts deteriorating over time along with other important bodily functions. Also, it is incurable, so that’s an important point to remember. But anyway, after a while, my grandma wasn’t able to give him as much care as he needed by herself, so we moved him to an assisted living facility.
Obviously, as the more time passed, the worse he got. On my last day of classes before finals, I got a call from my dad and he told me my granddaddy had passed away. I stood speechless in the middle of my school building and practically went numb from there on out. This was the first family death I had experienced and seeing everyone around me being so vulnerable and breaking down, I told myself I had to be the rock for everyone else.
Fast forward a month and a half and it’s now the beginning of July. Time for another backstory: while everything was going on with my mom’s dad, my dad’s parents were also not doing so well. My grandma had developed a form of dementia in about 2015, and my grandpa had many health issues and couldn’t take care of my grandma, so they both moved into a living facility. So, after the death of my mom’s dad, we were all just starting to get our lives back to normal, but of course something hit, like it always seems to do. My dad’s dad passed away suddenly at the beginning of July, and no more than three weeks later did his mom pass too.
Let’s just say my summer going into my senior year of high school was nothing like what I had planned it to be. So, we went through everything again; planning, funeral homes, funerals, black dresses, burials, the whole nine yards. It had become routine, and still I was completely numb, never shedding a single tear when people were near me.
I have never liked people seeing me emotional because I have always viewed it as a weakness, and especially during this time, I wasn’t going to let my guard down to people I barely knew telling me my grandparents “were in a better place”. I only cried when I would get home in my room when I knew I was alone.
I didn’t let myself grieve, for years. I was only able to recall the bad times when they were sick and helpless, rather than the happy memories we had shared. I went through the stages of grief, well I may still even be in them. Even today whenever I talk about that summer and what I went through, I start to bawl my eyes out, which is 100% healthy I am beginning to learn. I am also just now learning that being emotional with others is okay, and even more than that, it is necessary in order for us to connect with one another.
So, to the girl who thinks she isn’t allowed to grieve, please do. Cry, be vulnerable, let people see you are in pain, and more than that, let them help you. Let someone hold you while you cry, let your emotions out. But, most importantly, grieve. You have been through so much and you deserve to be upset, angry, sad, confused, and everything in between. It’s almost been 2 years and still I get sad from time to time, but I’ve learned that is okay. It is more than okay; it is what we are supposed to do. I did not include this story to prove that I have been through more that you have, because I promise you, everyone bears different crosses. Not every story is the same, and it isn’t supposed to be. But go, share your story, because I can promise you that one day, after all the grieving is over, eventually you will be thrown back into those happy memories of the ones you have lost and smile.