I've experienced grief a few times throughout my life for different reasons. I was not prepared for the grief I would feel after my grandfather died. I lost my grandfather to cancer in April of last year. Just five days before my husband and I got married and five months after moving into our new house. I hadn't seen my grandfather for seven months up until the point he was admitted into the hospital. With my daughter in school and my husband working and traveling in Manhattan, I was worried about getting him sick since he was going through chemo at the time and then recovering from surgery. All that time I will never get back. All that time away and for what?
I thought as time went on it would get easier. It hasn't. In fact, it's gotten worse. It's gotten harder to deal with. There was so much going on when it happened that I don't think I fully processed it. It didn't feel real for so long. He passed, we got married and, a week after that, our daughter began acting out. To an extreme we had never seen with her before. It was her own grief. This was the first person in her life that she had lost and she loved him so much. She was 5 and had so many questions which I did my best to answer as honestly and age appropriately as possible. She struggled and then my focus was on her. To be strong for her and help her through this. With time and therapy she was able to begin to feel better. By this time it was summer, I had just gotten my license, and after the last shitty summer (thanks to Covid), I was determined to have a great summer with my daughter. Then school started, our birthdays, then the holidays hit and that's when grief started hitting me the most.
Thanksgiving. His birthday and Christmas in December. When the ball dropped New Year's Eve, I cried for him, feeling somehow that I had left him behind. Going into a new year without him, without calling him at midnight like I always did, felt wrong. Here I am in March and all I can think is that I cannot believe it's been almost a year without him. I grieve for the only father figure in my life; my only grandfather and my daughter's only great grandfather. I grieve him not being able to give me away on my wedding day like we had talked about many times. I grieve him for never being able to come to our new home. It's also hard to get the image of him in the hospital out of my mind. Seeing the way cancer took away my proud and strong grandfather. A tough and stubborn man I had known my whole life, who was now almost unrecognizable. A man who loved food and loved to eat, now was just bones, barely able to speak. A man I had never seen before.
I know they say with time it will get better. I want to be able to think about him and look at his pictures without crying. Some days are good when I'm not thinking about it. Other days it hits me like I'm reliving it all over again. It's up and down. I just try to remind myself that it won't always hurt this bad and allow myself to feel what it is I feel.