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Loss Of Beloved Grandmother

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It has been nearly one month since I lost her. She was 81. She had been ill, and suffered a heart attack about 2 weeks prior to her death. We were told it was minor, and that she'd be ok. She was released from the hospital, and scheduled for further testing. But, as often happens, they waited too long. She suffered another heart attack about a week later, and found herself back in a hospital bed. This time, urgency was felt, and my parents rushed to her side while I remained home caring for my other grandmother, who sufferes from Alzheimer's disease. Again, they were told she'd be alright.

That night, she suffered another heart attack. A rather massive one. Her lungs and kidneys began to fail.

I was booked on a flight for a wedding that week... The morning of my flight I made the trip to the hospital (about an hour away). I felt like if I chose to go, that I would have no regrets knowing that I had seen her one last time should she pass while I was away. I fully expected to be able to sit there, hold her hand and talk with her for a while. Instead, I walked in to find her on oxygen, asleep (which I later found out was more than sleep.. she never really woke up), and struggling for each breath. I stood and watched her for a few minutes until it became too difficult to see. I left the hospital, drove to the airport, and got on that plane. I knew in my heart I was absolutely making the wrong decision in leaving. As I boarded my plane I had tears rolling down my face, and I kept whispering how sorry I was, as if she'd have heard me. She passed away a few hours after my plane touched down. My family wouldn't let me come back home. They said my grandma would have wanted me to enjoy my vacation. They were right, but I feel very guilty for missing the funeral, for not staying home, and for not being here when my family needed me the most.

I am 24 years old, and until my dogs death last May I have been rather shielded from death all my life, with only one noteable exception in my teens. I have not learned coping skills, and I have very little support from family and even friends. People expect me to be "over it" already. Fact is, that will never happen. Why must grief always be dealt with alone, but everyone is always so quick to share my happiness. I don't think I'll ever find that answer.. I guess for now, I'll keep trudging through my days without her... wishing I could be where she is.

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Hi Jenn,

I also had no experience with death (I'm 35) other than that of a pet, so I'm sort of in the same boat you are as far as coping skills and handling emotions are concerned. My beloved father died 3 months ago and I too have found that it seems that grieving has to be done alone since almost everyone either doesn't understand or says the same things you've heard about being "over it." I've found that some "friends" have vanished and others that try to be there really aren't and at times make things worse by telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing. It's rough going through everything alone, I know! I saw a grief counselor and that helped, and I'd recommend buying a book or two on grief since it helps explain certain emotions. Definitely continue coming to this site - tt's been wonderful for me because the people here are so caring and DO understand.


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jenn and Kathy,

As I read your posts, it seems that you feel isolated in your grief, but you would prefer not to feel so alone in it. I guess everyone is different in this area, as we are in all of life. My gf actually told me that grieving for her father was something she has to go through alone. It seems as though it is a solitary venture for her.

It has been helpful that she can at least tell me if it's a good day or a bad day. That's the way she communicates how up for conversation she is that day. I hope that might be helpful with some of your friends who might want to be there but aren't really sure how to "test the waters".

Hang in there, and know that there are some of us who, even though we may not know first hand what you are going through, want to be there in the way you need us most. You just have to hit us over the head every now and then. ;)

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Hi Jenn,

It's interesting you wrote today with what's been on your mind, because my "issue of the day" is how I feel like I'm the only person my age to experience the loss of a dear loved one. I went to my support group today where I was, by far, the youngest. I am very thankful to have the others in my group but I just noticed the stark contrast today. I was 26 years old when my Josh died in a car accident; my 27th birthday was the day after I flew home from his funeral. That was four months ago. We were together for the year prior. About five weeks after Josh died, my friends were "done" listening to me talk about Josh, his death, my grief. If I brought up things, they'd recommend I start anti-depressants. I didn’t realize at the time that I should have responded by educating them about the journey called grief. So I stopped talking to them about anything to do with Josh. I couldn’t talk to my family either because they have not experienced such loss. By about 2 months out, I felt so alone and isolated; I was miserable. I, too, wished “I could be where he is” instead of in my life. Fortunately, I stumbled across this site, started learning about grief, and learning how to go through this process so that I will become a deeper, more understanding person (instead of a bitter, withdrawn one). I started reading books. I started going to a grief support group. I’ve started talking to Josh’s mom on almost a daily basis. I come to this site everyday, if even to read other’s stories.

What I’ve learned is that no matter your age, nothing in life could “prepare” you to cope with loss. You have to learn as you go. If we were 20 or 80 years old when we experienced our first loss of a loved one, we’d still have to learn as we go. If your friends and family can’t support you, then find other sources of support. It was rather traumatizing for me to realize that my mom wouldn’t be there for me through this process. The hardest thing I have even gone through in my life, and I can’t call and cry to my mom. (She actually told me she was embarrassed when I cried in the airport a month after Josh died. This was the weekend I had just gone through all of Josh’s boxes from his apartment with his mom.) I’ve started telling my friends that grief is the appropriate response to the death of someone you loved. Also, that grief is a long process and that for at least a year I’m going to have tough days. Now, even though they have NO CLUE what to say, I talk about Josh as much as I feel like. Mostly, they just listen, with no response, but I feel better. And you are right; you won’t “get over it.” You somehow learn to live through it, and hope to grow as a person as you go. We learn to incorporate our love with our loved one in our heart and carry them with us for the rest of our lives. And I’ve definitely experienced that friends are quick to share in your happiness and quick to run when you are experiencing grief. But my true friends are also willing to be there during the tough times. You may realize during this time who are really your true friends.

Although, at times, I still feel very alone, but we are not alone. Babs, another wonderful person on this site, wrote to me:

“Kelly Marie, isn't it a blessing just to have a safe have to come to for comfort and refuge during our grief journeys? I felt so alone until I found this place, but now there is a whole family of us all walking the journey of grief, many of us are on different parts of the journey but we still are walking this path together and those who have gone before us have wonderful wisdom to share with us and those behind us are being helped by all of us. We can feel free here to grieve and share our pain and others accept us just as we are. What a blessing this is too.”

So when I’m feeling alone, I think my “whole family walking the journey of grief;” I have this silly imagine in my mind of us all walking to together holding hands across the country (and world!). Maybe I’m a little crazy, but it makes me feel better so I don’t care. ^_^

On this website, there is a great post of books to read. I think Chicken Soup for a Grieving Soul is a great place to start. My daily favorite is Healing after Loss by Martha Hickman.

As for feeling guilty about missing your grandmother’s funeral, that’s tough. Maybe you could have a little memorial service on your own or with a few close friends or family. If your grandmother was buried, maybe you could have a small service at her gravesite. I also find that writing letters to Josh has helped. Maybe you could write a letter and read it to her. I guess whatever you think might be comforting for you. I had to fly home the day after my grandmother’s funeral to go on a trip for the end of my post-graduate training. My entire family urged me to go with the same reasoning; that my grandmother would have wanted me to go. I cried the entire flight home and had a pretty lousy time on the trip. But now I’ll never wonder what I would have missed if I didn’t go on the trip.

I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you’re feeling. But I think you’re on the right track; you’ve found this site and started sharing your story. Keep coming here, listening, and sharing. It’s very healing.

You’re in my thoughts,


Edited by kellymarie
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Wow is all I can really say.. I honestly wasn't expecting much of a response. I wish I had the time (and physical energy to go though the emotions it would entail) to respond to each one of you personally. I should really be sleeping right now, but am unable to sleep thanks to some lovely panic attacks that have manifested themselves over the past few months.

Do you all sometimes feel like the world should just stop for a while? Like when we lose a loved one it needs to just stop, or at least slow the heck down? Right now, I feel as though even the little things just don't matter. Sleep, eating, work, etc. I am in the process of starting my own daycare. I have two interviews tomorrow, one with an agency who will employ me and find the kids for me, and one with someone wanting private daycare. It is all sooooo overwhelming. But the process was begun long before my grandma passed, and she was rather supportive and would want me to go ahead with it. I'm going to, but it sure isn't happening without its issues. It feels like I go through the motions of each day, but I don't really live each day. I go to work, come home, toss and turn for a few hours, get up and do it all over again.

Thank you all for your detailed response as to what to do about my friends. I know I won't be getting any support from my family. This has always been the norm for me. My friends; well, some of them have really, really tried. I tend to push people away when I'm hurting... it doesn't help that no one really lives where I do right now (my family moved around a lot as I grew up), so everything has to be done with words.. it's easier in person, when just a hug or a hand to hold is enough. Now that a month has passed I sometimes feel like I'm ready to really talk, but they're always so busy that we just don't connect. Life must go on, right? A sad truth, because I'd really rather it didn't...

I am going to look into getting one or two of the books mentioned.. I've always loved the chicken soup books, so I think that's where I will start.

I hope to be able to respond on a more personal note to each of you that has taken the time to respond to me in the very near future. I work late into the evenings, and during the day I spend most of my time trying to get the daycare up and running (it's a big job, much larger than I had anticipated), and helping in the care of my other grandmother who suffers with Alzheimer's. I hope to read of your stories soon... I thank you all for taking time out of your busy lives to send words of encouragement to this hurting stranger. It means a lot. I wish you all the best as you deal with your own grief, and I hope you know that now there is another soul here always willing to lend an ear and a shoulder.

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I'm so sorry for your loss. It has only been a month and your feelings are perfectly normal. You are still in the dazed phase and I commend you for being able to continue to work and go toward your future. When you read some of the books, you will learn about the phases of grief and it will help you to know your feelings are normal.

There is a cartoon that shows a guy looking pretty "rough" and it says, "Stop the world, I want to get off!" I think it's about having a hangover, but I often think of that and feel like shouting it. We all feel so overwhelmed after someone dies and like we just want to crawl off and hide away. My father has been gone for a year and five months and I still feel that more than occassionally! But things will get better as you get through more and more time, and through more of the stages.

I'm so glad you found this site, it has helped me so much, especially in the "feeling like I'm all alone" department. It is such a relief to communicate with others who truly know how you feel.

Hang in there, and welcome to the site.

Give yourself a hug from me,


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Hi Jenn, and welcome aboard!

That feeling that time should at least slow down, in honour of your love one, is completely common. It seems like an afront to our grief and our relationship with our loved one when it doesn't and when others' lives keep carrying on as if nothing of importance happened at all in the world. It seems especially insulting when those who know us don't recognize this 'stopping to take a moment', as if they're telling us that OUR loved one's life doesn't mean anything. I suffered this dozens and dozens of times myself, and still do in a way, as almost all relatives have never come through for me, even now when I can actually laugh and appear more like I always was ( not that I AM, but only non-trivial discussion will reveal that ).

No, the "little things" won't matter right now, and some of them you may even end up never paying as much attention to, depending on what you end up valuing as most important during your grief journey and 'beyond'. When grief is so new, so many details can seem completely overwhelming, and that's normal, if not convenient. Only YOU can decide which things to ( try to ) focus on at any given moment, and which to lay aside for the time being. I realize you don't want to just give up on your new venture, and the timing of everything sucks, but you'll have to make those choices as you go along and test yourself out to see how much you can reasonably handle.

I don't think any of us really "lives" during grief, although trying to stay mindful of your feelings and inner dialogue during this journey can end up helping you improve the quality of your living once your grief spiral eases up some....whenever that will be. And keep in mind that it wasn't that long ago that you lost your furbaby, and most of us have a hard time with losses too close together for comfort ( not that any of them are 'comfortable'! ). You probably haven't even finished adjusting to that loss and now you have another major one to deal with, on top of starting a new career. NOT an easy challenge, to say the least.

As for life going on, that, too, is ultimately a choice and recognizing when you're making that choice can be helpful in and of itself. I find it a rather glib, insensitive and cold saying though....either that, or ofttimes one hears someone say it with nothing but sad resignation in their voice.....not too inspiring in either case! As I'm sure you know from your furbaby's passing, there are times in life that we don't WANT to go on.( Been there, done that, will feel that way again I'm sure! ) But there's also a part inside most of us that gives us clues to the fact that at least in some way, we DO want to make the choice for 'going on'...we just want it to be easier and not so dang painful! However, just by coming here and starting to utilize this help for yourself, you're already making a choice for your own well-being and commitment to your life. Even if you take 3 steps back from here, and plenty of us do, as long as there's one step forward again, that's progress.

Regarding panic attacks, I just read an interesting piece by a psychologist on how to combat them....deep breathing from the abdomen, all thru the day, even when you're not actively in one, is supposed to help train your body to let go of the stressful reactions....so you might try that. It's better to nip these things in the bud before you end up getting told you 'NEED' drugs.

For your grandma, as my Mother wasn't there for her mother's death, I also wasn't there for either one. BUT, you did visit her so soon beforehand and that's something, and more than I got to do, btw. I've talked here and other places about the regrets and guilt I felt about not getting to be there with my own Mother when she passed, but I've also heard others reliving the nightmare of seeing their loved ones go, if they weren't easy and peaceful deaths, and sometimes even if they were. If you can take nothing else from it at the moment, perhaps you can see that it might have spared you any visual images other than the one you already have found so difficult? So perhaps, for you personally, this would have been the best possible scenario. Plus, I'm reminded of how often.....just like animals......our loved ones wait until we're not there, to cross over. So it may have happened for you this way anyway, even had you stayed at the hospital. Just some thoughts for you to chew over. In any case, you know you have my sympathies. :wub:

Edited by Maylissa
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You so are not alone here I am new to the site also fairly, but the people here are great. Its like we can vent and not be judged, along with crying through words and the shoulder is there. A hug from shell via lines is there and just advice also that you can take or leave and its ok. I look forward to typng thing to all and getting answers. I too have not ever had to deal with death and my MOM passed 3 months and 1 day ago and it is had I still can not cope but it helps here talking about it all.

Hang in there we all have to go on some how and together as a group we will make it day by day.


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