Last week, my grandma died. She basically raised me. What do I do? I’ve been ignoring it. Everyone at the funeral complimented on how poised I was, even while reading the eulogy, and I don’t want to lose my composure— it’s just not how I roll. I feel like it’s going to build up though. When I lost my grandpa, I was only 12, so my reaction was much different and more immediate then now (I’m seventeen, just started college.) Basically, I’m just afraid this is all going to slap me in the face. I don’t really have someone to really take care of me anymore, not that I’m completely on my own but still I feel like I lost my person. I know I probably seem immature, but I really don’t want to talk to my friends about it, because they’re kind of dumbfounded by the entire situation. So, I decided to ask a third party, who I won’t upset by talking about it and has something honest to say.
If your grandma’s death came as a shock, then you’re very likely still in the denial stage of the grieving process. If it was expected and you’d said your goodbyes, then you may have already reached acceptance.
I can’t quite tell, but since you’ve been ignoring it, I’m guessing that you weren’t emotionally prepared for her death. Given how close the two of you were and the fact that she was a maternal figure in your life, you’ve got some grieving to do.
Don’t fear it. Don’t worry about getting slapped in the face with grief. It’s part of the human condition, and it means you’re healing.
If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation around other people where you are suddenly overwhelmed with emotion, just walk out of the room. Excuse yourself if necessary, but don’t ask permission. Just go. Find a private spot and let it out. Take all the time you need. Do whatever you need to do, and don’t let anyone else tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel right now.
Grief is a primal emotion. People recognize it, so you won’t have to explain yourself. If someone asks how you’re doing, just tell them you’re fine and let them off the hook. Your friends won’t know what to say, so get used to hearing the phrase, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Just look them in the eye and thank them.
Also, get cozy with the notion that the holidays are going to suck this year. That’s a time when it’s really going to hit you hard. You won’t be in school, so feel free to use the holiday break to go a little crazy. It’s a good time to go off and lose your shit.
Eventually, the dazed feeling wears off. So will the anger, and so will the sadness.