It's the week leading up to the one-year "anniversary" of my Mimi's death, and saying I'm a mess is an understatement. One minute I'm fine studying for a class and the next thing I know I'm crying with a memory floating in. Grieving is an emotional rollercoaster which I wish we learned more about before the process happens. I'm learning it's a "process" I'll be going through for the rest of my life.
There are a lot of things I don't remember and I think that's the hard part of grieving. I don't remember her smell or the sound of her giggle right of the bat. When I think about my Mimi I think of her giggle, and I wish I recorded it so I'd have that sound forever. I've learned a lot of lessons though in the 365 days without her.
It's okay to cry.
At the age of 22, I have become more comfortable with my emotions. In high school I would have my typical meltdowns out of frustration, or if I was angry. But I'd never cry if something really physically hurt me, or if I was going through a hard time. I would put grieving under the "going through a hard time" category. Let yourself completely break down. Let someone hold you. Let yourself be a mess.
You're going to find things you forgot existed.
I was grabbing something out of my closet for my capstone performance coming up, and an envelope fell and it had my name written in my Mimi's handwriting. When I saw it I was ready to instantly crumble. My mom told me not to read the card, but I don't listen to her all the time. It was the last Christmas Card from her and Bop that we all got, a glass dragonfly ornament, and a printed sheet about what dragonflies mean and symbols they stand for. It was a hard thing to find this week, but it was like a sign I needed from her, she was watching over us.
You need to check in on each other.
I don't mean call your family once a week and ask "hey how ya' doing?" I mean the hard ones, "I know ____ is coming up, how are you doing?" ____ as in: your birthday, your concert or performance, graduation, or Easter. Easter is a big holiday coming up for my family and talking about it my aunt simple said, "but I don't want to cry." And that showed me how she was doing. Some days are better than others, but these next couple of weeks are going to be hard. Check in on each other every once in a while.
They won't physically be there for important moments anymore.
A really hard lesson I have to remind myself is, she isn't going to be physically at my capstone, my college graduation or my wedding, but she will be there. I hate when people are like, "She'll be there in spirit" because I don't know, I get tired of people saying that. Many people have been saying, "she'll be front row" or, "she'll have the best seat in the house" which are all true and sounds a little more like my Mimi and me.
It's hard to not let grieving get in the way of your daily lives. It's hard for it not to affect the work you need to do, moments you need to be present in, and let alone sleeping. I see her in pictures, on the streets, and in my dreams. She's everywhere and it's not like I want to escape her, I just want it to get easier. Learn to be okay with that. I'm still learning to be okay with it, I see it as a sign. Even if the old lady turns around and it's not my Mimi, I still am thinking of her and she's here.
If you're currently grieving, you're not alone. There are people surrounding you with love and support and are also grieving after losing a loved one. Don't push those people away, let them in and let them be there for you. You can't grieve alone.