On Death in the Family

My grandpa died about three weeks ago now. It was very hard and very weird to deal with as a human, let alone dealing with a death in the family as an adult for the first time. We knew it was coming but it was still a really hard experience

I feel like a lost so much:

  • A family member
  • One of the smartest person I have ever known (like actually I don’t know that I can think of someone smarter and worry seriously that a mind like his won’t exist again)
  • A beekeeper and a wonderful source of honey
  • My favorite gossip partner, after every family gathering we would just talk about the terrible decissions everyone had made and commenting on the slightest of remarks made by a cousin’s girlfriend or a great-uncle
  • A home base
  • And so so much more that I don’t totally have the words for yet

What I learned:

  • Take more pictures of everyone for all time. You will want them and you will cherish them.
  • There is no way to prepare to carry a box of someone’s ashes, you will just never be ready and yet it happens.
  • A box of a person is A LOT heavier than you would think. (side note: the realest fear was coming from what if I drop this and he floats away)
  • Tell HR at your place of employment there are these things called bereavement days and you don’t have to take vacation or personal time. Also, people can be nice.
  • Sometimes it is helpful just to be there and be present and be ready for whatever.
  • You can’t do many things until you have the official death certificate.
  • No matter how much you know ahead of time and no matter how long you have been preparing to grieve it still hits you like a ton of bricks.

The First Holiday without a loved one

As you may no from my post on ambiguous loss, this past fall my family has been separated and we have in a sense lost my brother. This was our first holiday season without him. It has not been easy. In fact it has been incredibly hard. There was no fighting over who would light the candles or vigorous bets on which candle could last the longest. We didn’t watch his favorite Christmas movies, yes the Santa Clause is cheesy but this is the first year it did not graze our screens. My sister and I weren’t woken at 6 and then 7 and then 8 which is when we can actually come up to enjoy presents and stockings. Passing around presents went faster than it ever has. It is quiet. I don’t know if I like it. I suppose the only way to get through the holidays is to miss them and know that you miss them and not pretend that things are the same. We tried that for a while and my mom cried through Elf. Needless to say it didn’t go well. So for Christmas my mom framed one of his pictures and I gave my parents a framed photo of the whole family at my sister’s first Christmas (she is the youngest). It is so hard to know how sad you are supposed to be especially on a holiday where in all reality it should feel joyous.

Hanukkah was mostly easy because I was at school for all but the last night and could celebrate with my friends there and did not have to think about my family not being together, as I was states away and couldn’t be with them anyways. This has been harder because it is clearer that someone is not here, that there is a part missing. Hopefully it gets easier as the years go on or at least as we start to move away from this crappy year.

If you have any tips to make it feel any better please let me know.

What ever you are doing today celebrating or not, have a safe and happy time.