Lessons Learned Through Loss

A year ago today my grandmother passed away. Despite the 365 days since her death I still have moments when I forget she is gone. I pick up the phone to call her or look to the mail for her encouraging words and it takes a few seconds for my brain to remind me. It's odd to me how death is so final yet those left behind struggle for months, even years with the loss. Sadly it was only after her passing that I've come to realize what a truly amazing and strong woman she was. Yet in her death I've learned  a few valuable lessons about life and loss that I wanted to share with you today.
Lessons Learned Through Loss | Sweet Catastrophe Blog
1 | Embrace The Grief: Grief is our natural response to loss, and while it isn't human nature to embrace  the sadness and pain of losing a loved one it is necessary. Give your permission to grieve, it doesn't mean you will be sad forever in fact it will help you come out the other side stronger than before.
2 | Honor Them: Despite never having a conversation with my grandmother about death and final wishes I and the rest of my family kept her first and foremost while planning the funeral and next stages for my grandfather. In doing so I think we all found comfort in knowing she would be proud of how things were handled and pleased with the send-off we planned for her.
3 | Connect: Share the grief. We are communal creatures, being around others experiencing the same pain does help. It is important to remember that you aren't alone.As a family we grieved her loss and through it I am closer to many family members than I was before.
4 | Embrace Life: The last time I saw my grandmother was just a few hours after her stroke. She could barely speak but when my grandfather told her that we were worried about her she managed to say, "No, Don't Worry About Me". Even then, in her most fragile state she was putting us first, and I think letting us know she was ready for her next big adventure. Today I think she would be proud of us, the progress we've made and the wonderful things we are doing with our lives.
5 | Remember: The best moment I have after her passing was sitting in her house surrounded by her possessions and little notes looking at photo album after photo album with my family. She must have spent hours collecting photos and adding them to the approximately thirty albums and I am so thankful she did.

In the days and months since her death the pain has dulled. It has been replaced with a deep respect for her life and the family she created with my grandfather. These days my thoughts of her are filled with memories. Happy memories of her laugh, hugs, devotion, support and most of all her love.
Disclaimer: I am not a grief counselor. These lessons are based solely on my own experiences. If you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, I highly encourage you to seek professional advice. 

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