Trigger Warning: This is a very raw post, on the topic of bereavement.
I made my return back to this space speaking about loss, the idea of loss in many ways, not just the loss of a loved one and here I am again speaking about loss. I never thought so soon after that post I would be writing a blog post on the loss of my Grandmother and yet here I am going through all the motions of grief. The side of grief we often see and sometimes the side of grief we would like to pretend we didn’t experience.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve and yet I have convinced myself that I am doing it all wrong. Grieving can look like what we see in movies but often it is one of those things that affects us all differently, and that is something I have struggled to fully accept, part of me wants to be a total mess to make myself feel like I am “really” grieving whilst simultaneously asking myself what would they want me to be doing right now? Would they want me to feel like everything has to stop or would they want me to be my best self? Part of me even feels guilty for not being sure of the answer.
We are familiar with the different stages of grief, we have also seen many people speak on feeling like they could of been around for the person they have lost more, and I think those feelings have been enlarged by the multiple lockdowns we have been experiencing and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel like the lockdown gave me the space to be the antisocial person I am constantly trying to fight against. I was in my element, there was still feelings of guilt but I was backed by the government it was a good excuse not to see anyone. However speaking to my Grandad over Whatsapp video in the hospital the day before he passed was something that is hard to wrap your head around. He was making jokes and laughing like the man I remember him to be, then for a few months later to hear my mother in the next room in distress to hear her say the words “Mum is dead”.
I feel like it is pretty common to hear people speak about all the things they wish they had done whilst the person they love was alive, I know I have been beating myself up for the past few weeks and even before because I wish I could put my anxiety aside and prioritise what is important, my family. It’s a spiral affect because you already feel guilty for not seeing them enough and you also feel guilty for even letting your own struggles come in the way of seeing them. It feels selfish to even think of yourself at a time like this.
The guilt had increased after releasing that my grandmother’s actions leading up to this day was in preparation for something she knew was coming. A matter of weeks before she passed she gave me one of her stuffed teddies, and my sister another one which my mum later shared were gifts her and my grandad had exchanged. When I called her to thank her for the gift I couldn’t help but feel guilty about the fact that my grandmother was thinking of me, worrying about me, when It was my job to worry and think about her during the time that she is still grieving her Husband.
I think it makes it harder to accept losing her knowing the last time we spoke she was thinking of me and at the time all I could think about was myself. At the time I felt like I didn’t have the capacity to think about anyone or anything but myself, which sounds horrible, writing this feels incredibly uncomfortable but also incredibly true. I was so wrapped up in my own struggles I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be, the caring person who is always thinking about my family, sometimes before or over myself. Thinking how that old Saabirah would have been real useful during a time like this, That old Saabirah would have been with Grandma more, I probably would have be able to say I saw her the day before she passed, but instead my last memory is of her is a phone call with her asking if I am “really alright“. I guess I never wanted this day to come so I convinced myself that my Grandmother was untouchable and that I had way more time to be with her, to really be with her and not to just physically be there but the be with her fully.
This woman was supposed to out live me…
I regret not just coming to see you to thank you for the teddy in person, I regret not calling more, seeing you more. I regret not being able to contribute to your happiness during the time when you needed family the most. I regret not having more recent memories with you.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve and yet I have convinced myself that I am doing it all wrong.