Grieving Death Feels Paralyzing

In between random bouts of crying and catching myself staring off into the distance, I haven’t been able to shake the funk Grandma’s death has left on me.

The overpowering need to cry is paralyzing sometimes and the emotions are too raw. This isn’t my first death, but it is the first death that’s affected me this deeply. So deep it’s unlocked a few boxes I’ve had cemented shut for a decade (at least).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been somewhat angry at my mother and at this moment the details don’t matter. Some of my anger is justified and some of it not.

I haven’t lived near family (or had a true blue friend) for a long time, many miles and time zones separate us and if you would’ve asked me a month ago, I would’ve told you it was better that way — being alone felt like the best option, no family drama or obligation.

Then I flew to Buffalo to put my Grandmother to rest and saw everyone I hadn’t seen for years. It felt comfortable, relatively welcoming and nice to “be home,” but that same outsider feeling slowly crept through my skin, cryptically at first and more loudly a few weeks later.

I had prepared to give Grandma’s eulogy, but not for the emotional aftermath of seeing family I had’t seen in six long years.

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While writing Grandma’s eulogy (which was its own heart-wrenching journey) I came to the conclusion Grandma tried her best. We didn’t have the relationship I wanted and could rattle off a number of instances she handled poorly throughout my childhood, but despite all of her shortcomings and the long distance between us, she still showed up and it took her dying and my responsibility to give the eulogy to reflect on her.

And that bit makes me sick with guilt.

The grieving process is different for everyone, but her death has leaked into family truths I’ve been outrunning for a long time and it’s hard to put Pandora back in her box.

I’m left emotionally raw, confused and uncertain how to heal.

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