I knew grief was coming. I’ve felt grief many times before. It always feels distinctly like grief, yet no grieving situation ever unfurls and flows in similar fashion.
I am speaking specifically of grief felt when a loved dies. One can grieve the loss of a job or a home but those losses, for me, tend to bring forth an entirely different type of grieving.
My maternal grandmother died yesterday. Although she lived two provinces away we were still close. We became even closer after my Mom, her eldest daughter, died in early 2014. We both took her death very hard and struggled a great deal.
Yesterday I felt as though I should feel sadder, be more upset. I cried when I told my husband very early in the morning. He held me as I swiped at my eyes and tried to breath deeply and fully. Mostly I felt glad she’d gone quickly, with minimal suffering and I felt glad I’d told her many times how special she was to me and how much I loved her.
My husband and I had lunch with my father and his lady-friend yesterday afternoon. We laughed and talked and my appetite seemed normal. I suppose the only thing not normal was how guilty I felt for feeling so normal.
Later on I suddenly felt incredibly irritable. I snapped at my husband, immediately apologised, snapped again, apologised, and lathered, rinsed, repeated until I was in tears for behaving so poorly and he was bewildered.
We watched a movie I chose and I complained about how terrible it was the whole way through. I stomped upstairs after the film and shuttered myself in my art studio. I was, at once, angry at myself for choosing such a shitty flick and annoyed at my husband for insisting we finish it.
I decided to take part in a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge suggested by an old friend and fellow artist and participant. I completed a small abstract piece last night and found myself going from soothed to impatient as though riding a pendulum as I worked. I was satisfied with the finished painting and surprised how much the colouring and style reminded me of my Grandmother.
My sleep was wrought with tossing and turning. I woke up really early for coffee but found myself dosing off an hour later and returning to bed for rest of the morning.
For the rest of today I’ve found myself on an un-merry-go-round of irritable, sentimental, guilty, confused, and numb. This is what grieving my Grandmother feels like so far.
I’ve also found myself with a sour stomach, a sweet tooth, shakier hands than usual, and struggling to cope with higher than usual pain levels.
I never would have predicted this would be how I’d feel. I’m doing my best to surf the emotional waves rather than fight them but it’s difficult as I keep feeling as though I’m not doing this right and I know that’s not possible.
I’ve learned we all experience grief differently and grieving will be a different experience every time. So I’ll just keep trying to honour my grandmother’s memory as best I can and honour my feelings as they ebb and flow. If there’s ever a time to go easy on myself and practice self-love and self-care it’s now.