Losing someone is never easy and unfortunately does not get any easier. Being away from home, family, and friends also does not make the situation any better. This semester, I lost my grandmother. She truly did live a wonderful life and I am so blessed that she lived to be 96 (and a half-months). I had to throw that in because I know she is slightly disappointed that she didn’t quite hit 100. I will always have all the memories I made with her and all the life lessons that she taught me. My grandma was my last surviving grandparent and while I had dealt with the loss of two grandparents before, I wouldn’t say that made it any easier.
While away at school, I did not get to spend as much time with her as I would have liked, but I know I am not alone in that. I was so blessed to have seen her just a short time before her passing over fall break. There is no easy way to deal with losing anyone you love, but it is important to take care of yourself during the mourning process.
Put yourself first. It was beneficial for me to take a couple days off from work. It is a complicated process at Purdue to get excused from classes, so I continued going to those, especially because I did not want to get behind. I knew my grandma did not want me to either. One of the last things she told me was, “Study hard.” I will admit that for a couple of days I did not study hard, but I took some time to reflect upon all the wonderful memories we had together. I am so thankful that my parents always made it possible for me to see all my grandparents on a very frequent basis and even luckier that over the last 7 or so years, she lived only a half hour from me.
Reflecting upon memories with a lost love one may seem sad but try to make it a positive time for yourself, a time of appreciation. I will always be so grateful for all the time we baked together, all the Thanksgivings she put on, and the Christmases that we shared. She was such a strong woman. My name, Rebecca, was the name she used while she served overseas during World War II and that is something that I will always have with me.
After losing a loved one it is okay to lean on the people around you and find support in them. At school, I have the most wonderful friends. They made all the time in the world to seek me out to talk to me, take me to lunch, even just sit with me. My friends left me a beautiful card and the most perfect flowers, and I honestly cannot thank them enough for being such a wonderful support group during such a hard time. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a support group like that, and if you do not, I would highly encourage you to reach out. Lots of college campuses have grief groups and counselors that are available to talk to you and to help you get through this most difficult time.
At the end of the day, it is important to take care of yourself however you do that best. Losing someone isn’t easy, especially someone you love dearly and hold so close to your heart, like I did my grandma. I know these times are hard, but through them we as individuals carry on stronger and can move forward with a new appreciation of life. It is important that we continue to move forward, while not forgetting all the wonderful memories we will forever have within ourselves.