A personal story: grief and loss
"Last week, I had the sad news of my grandfather collapsing. I was back at my parents when we heard and while my dad was in the hospital with him, me and my brother were sat waiting for news, but not feeling too worried.
My grandad was 79 years old. He was relatively healthy, witty, sarcastic and a man with many stories to share. We never expected the sudden sadness that would visit our family.
My dad returned home very sad and stressed, but confident that it would be OK. Apparently he was chatting away, getting frustrated at the nurses and complaining at the discomfort of the oxygen mask he needed to wear.
The next day, I came to work without much concern. Fear was in the back of my mind, but I am very good at holding in my worry until I am alone and ready to let it out. My dad phoned me that morning letting me know that the doctors had called, asking to speak to him and my uncle at 3pm. I left work and drove to the hospital, waiting for my family.
Entering the hospital, the bad feeling in the pit of my stomach started to make itself known. I was shocked and confused to see my grandad laying in a hospital bed, looking so small and weak. After meeting with the doctors and not hearing any news, we went home.
The next day, there was no change. I went to work as usual, watching my phone for any update. I visited the hospital again that evening, with my dad. We sat and chatted beside my grandad, quietly hoping he would improve. He seemed to be reacting to us talking, even though he was asleep, so we felt positive going home.
Two days later, after a few night’s disrupted sleep (again, keeping an eye on my phone for any update) I received another call from my dad, explaining that grandad was not improving and they had a decision to make. I cancelled my plans and made my way back to the hospital.
Grandad had been moved from the ward into a private room, due to the doctor’s fears of him having the flu. I entered the room to the nurses turning off the oxygen. My dad, my uncle and cousins were there, but my mum hadn’t arrived yet, so I took control and went to the cafe for a coffee run.
After hours of standing, waiting, my grandad sadly passed away. It was sudden, unexpected and a pain we haven’t felt in a long time. I felt for my dad and my uncle, and my brother, who hadn’t made it home from university in time.
It wasn’t until I had got home that I let it all sink in. Three days later, it hurts and I feel somewhat lost. I have kept myself busy with family, though I don’t feel ready to see friends yet.
Working at Counselling Directory, I am aware of the feelings that I will begin to experience. I have learnt that I need to take the time to process what has happened, and many of the feelings will not go away for a long time. I know that everyone deals with these things differently. I understand that I am one to keep busy, pre-occupying my thoughts with the worry and cares of my family, over my own. But I also recognise that I need to focus on myself and know that I will learn to manage the feelings over time, rather than right now.
Today I am confused, sad, angry and still in shock. I want to know why the doctors couldn’t help him and why it had to happen so quickly. Yet, talking about it and feeling that sense of relief is helping. Writing my experience down just three days after is also helping."
It is important to look after yourself during a difficult time. Bereavement is the time we take adjusting to the loss. Take the time you need to rest and process it. Feeling such a range of emotions can be exhausting, so get enough sleep. Try to talk about your feelings or write them down and when you are ready, the sadness will pass and you will remember the person you once loved and be happy.