Breaking the News

I had to let my coworkers know about my grandmother’s impending death. It was not harder than I expected, and not easier either, but it certainly was different.

I couldn’t say it in person. I had to write an email. I got the news myself on a Thursday morning, but I waited until that Friday after work to share it, so I wouldn’t have to face anyone that day. That was probably to the benefit of everyone involved.

Phrasing what I had to say was hard. I felt like I should prepare my coworkers for what I might be like in the days and weeks afterward. In retrospect, this was perhaps a silly move, because I didn’t react at all how I predicted I would. When I’m upset by something, I usually cry at random and unpredictable intervals. I also tend to cry whenever someone expresses sympathy. This time, I didn’t cry.

I cried some on my own, of course, but not once in front of another person. That was new for me.

There are myriad differences between this and other deaths I’ve experienced in my lifetime. This was not a surprise – she was 94, steadily declining for the past few years, and had even fallen down a couple times recently. Because we knew it was coming so quickly, I was able to have one last conversation with her. That helped me feel more at peace with her death. I am more used to turmoil, so peace was a strange, yet ultimately welcome difference for me.

Letting coworkers know was easier than having to tell a family member, or someone else who knew and loved the person in question. I had to let my boyfriend know, and that was more emotionally difficult, both because we had a phone conversation about it as opposed to an email exchange, and because he had met my grandmother and really liked her.

This was about a month ago, now. I am still grieving in my own strange, quiet, slow way. My parents are coming to visit in a week, and I have a feeling that seeing my dad will be a key piece of my grief process. Seeing me will likely be a part of his, too.

I suppose all grief is strange and unique. This experience has been my introduction to that concept.

More to follow.

P.S. My first blog post was largely my musings on having been given this grandmother’s plates and other kitchen wares, many years ago. Check it out, if interested.

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