The Art of Grieving

On Sunday, October 6 of this year, my grandpa passed away after his battle with liver cancer. He was diagnosed in mid-August, but day by day, he was getting worse. He was losing so much weight and couldn’t eat, and eventually, he couldn’t stand up because he had gotten so weak. This was the first big loss I had really felt in my life. The deaths that have occurred within my family and friend group(s) had all been when I was very young, so for quite some time, I didn’t really understand what it meant to grieve. But now that I’m 19, this death hit me extremely hard. If you’re reading this, you’ve more than likely faced a loss that has really impacted you in some way. It’s difficult to get through. You may feel like life is no longer the same and that is perfectly normal. If you are currently grieving or have grieved before, here are some tips on how to grieve healthily.

  1. 1. Understand that there is no timeline to grieving

    There’s a popular idea that goes around that there are five stages to grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Many of us may feel these emotions all at once or in a different order. That’s perfectly fine. There is no proper timeline on what to feel at a certain point. Everyone grieves differently and goes through different stages. One day, you may accept that it happened but a week later, you could be really angry about it. It happens, and there is no right or wrong way or time to feel these emotions. 

  2. 2. Connect something to the presence of your loved one

    Recently, I saw an Instagram story from one of my fellow Her Campus at UMKC peers. She had lost her grandmothers within a year and had a very hard time. However, she connected butterflies to her grandmothers so that whenever she sees butterflies, she remembers the memories she had with them and asks them for guidance. I have done the same thing with my grandfather. Whenever I think of the St. Louis Cardinals, I remember all of the times my grandpa and I spent together. His memory still lives on, even if he is not here physically. The object you connect with your loved one can be anything you want. Having an object to symbolize the presence of your loved one is a beautiful way to remember them. 

  3. 3. Know who your support system is

    When we go through a loss, it is okay to want a shoulder to cry on. You don’t have to pretend to be strong when in reality you are mourning. Know who will be there for you and who will support you through this difficult time. You don’t have to suffer alone. Most people will understand what you are going through. Your support system, whoever it may be, will help you through this dark time. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to others and let yourself feel your feelings. There are people who love you and will care for you throughout this journey.

Grieving is a really hard thing to do and, personally, it is an experience I can never forget. The death of my grandfather gave me so many insights on how everyone should live: with love and with each other. If you are grieving or have recently, I am proud of you for getting through it every day. Make sure to take care of yourself and to remember the legacy of your loved one and to not isolate yourself. You are stronger than you think, and no matter how hard it seems now, it will get better.