The past week has been one of the most difficult of my life. For the first time ever, I had to deal with the death of someone close to me – my Grandpa. He passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly early last Tuesday morning. I spent this past weekend at my parents place so that I could attend the wake, funeral and spend some much needed time with my family.
The range of emotions that I have experienced since receiving the news last Tuesday morning has been particularly mind-boggling.
Initially, I was shocked. Grandpa had been healthy and active until the day before he died. He was a full time farmer with over 100 beef cattle, which he cared for daily. No one expected him to leave us so suddenly.
Along with shock was sadness, which I don’t think requires any explanation. Everyone feels sad when they lose someone close to them.
As the days progressed, I found my moods and feelings changing frequently. I was happy for the time that I had with Grandpa and thankful for all the memories that I have growing up close to him and my Nana. But at the same time I regretted not having visited more often in recent years. Other times, I would find myself in tears without even realizing that I was thinking about Grandpa. And sometimes I was just numb, unable to feel anything at all. Mostly, it just didn’t seem real.
I thought that once I got to the funeral home for the wake, it would all become more real. In some ways it did, in other ways, it still, now doesn’t seem like it could be true. How could he really be gone forever? What would happen now? How will the family carry on?
My emotional rollercoaster continued throughout the duration of the wake and funeral. It amazed me that complete strangers could bring me to tears, just by telling me how wonderful my grandpa was, yet people close to me made me laugh or smile. Many people reminded me that Grandpa was lucky to have gone so quickly without suffering. And although I know that at some point in time, that will give me comfort, knowing that it would have driven him completely mad if he’d been ill and unable to continue his active lifestyle, at the time I felt that if I heard it one more time, I would scream.
I know that I am lucky that I have never had to deal with any of this before. Not many people get to be my age and still have all four of their grandparents still alive and well. Unfortunately that doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. Nor will it make it any easier the next time or the time after that.