Losing A Loved One While In College Is A Unique Kind Of Grief

It's A Unique Experience To Lose A Loved One While You're Far Away At College

It's not harder, it's not easier. It's just... different.

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Most people have lost someone before. I know that. Whether you went through the grieving process in the comfort of your home or far away from the family that can help get you through the rough time, it does not discount the grief. It does not change it. Grief is grief, no matter where you are dealing with it or who helps you through it.

This is just my personal experience with it because I've never had to deal with the grief of losing one of my closest family members while being over a hundred miles away from home, from my family, from the people who understand what I'm going through better than anyone else.

About two months ago, I lost my grandpa.

I was home on break, so I was able to be surrounded by family and friends when it happened. I was able to see him one last time. But, as anyone who has dealt with grief before knows, sometimes the more time that has passed since the death and the more time the tragedy has had to break our fragile hearts and seep into our souls, it actually gets harder.

SEE ALSO: A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

Those are the feelings I came back to college with — those raw, heartbroken feelings of loss and loneliness, the realization that nothing is going to change and that he is really and truly gone.

I was so sure that this would crush me. I was so sure the distance from my family would make this grief unbearable. I was so sure that I would be crying in my dorm every day and driving home every weekend.

And for the first few weeks, I was sad. All the time. I didn't want to go to class; I didn't want to hang out with friends; I didn't want to go to club meetings. Because I didn't see a point to any of it.

Why am I doing all of this, when my grandpa — one of my best friends in life — is gone?

The days continued on, the weeks kept accumulating. And, eventually, I was sucked back into the little bubble that is college life. I thought of him every day, but I became so busy, I didn't cry every day. This little bubble that surrounds you in college, the little bubble that blocks out the rest of the world, has actually helped me to move forward. Classes, hanging out with friends, club meetings, and all my ambitions and dreams that are bursting at the seams to take root, engulfed me. I became absorbed in the bubble. And I don't regret it. I feel more accepting of the situation; I feel better equipped to handle it because I know what I'm doing inside this bubble makes him proud.

So, what is it like to lose a loved one while away at college? Hard, because you're so far away from your family, so far away from the people who understand you and understand your situation. There are some Mondays I wake up devastated, shook to the core as the loss settles in like a new realization; sometimes I just simply look at a picture and the waterworks start.

However, it has also provided me a unique opportunity to find my place in the world amidst the confusion and pain.

I can be the very best version of myself in college, the version that would make my grandpa proud, and I don't think that chance makes grieving him any easier, I just think it makes the grief more manageable. It makes handling the loss so, so different.

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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I Learned Independence And Self-Sufficiency At A Young Age, And I Am Extremely Grateful

Of course, I at times have been angry, and maybe partly jealous that others could do whatever they want, whenever they want without stress, but in the end, I am turning out to be a better and more mature person because of this.

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My parents were just shy of 20 when they had me, making them teen parents. Some people still put shame around this, but my parents gave me a great life. They didn't let their young age or inexperience stop them from being the best parents they could be.

Being that I was their first kid, and in the end the only girl, I definitely was spoiled, but I never had things handed to me on a silver platter. I always worked for what I had in some way or another, I always put more pressure on myself than they did, and we all had high expectations for my future.

At the young age of 13, I lost my dad and being the oldest sibling, I took on an even bigger role of helping my mom with my two younger brothers. My responsibilities didn't start there though. From a young age, I was mature, and my parents trusted me. I have been able to watch my younger brothers, and earn my own money for as long as I can remember, and because of this, I have always been more mature than other people my age. I would babysit to earn money and started working at a restaurant as soon as I was old enough. I never liked having things handed to me, because it was not how I was raised.

I liked making my own money, and not having to ask for it when I went places, but that doesn't mean that I didn't notice how so many of my friends were just given things. High school and college are the two platforms that I found myself getting slightly annoyed at, with the privilege a lot of my friends or classmates had without even realizing it.

In high school, I was one of the first to get my license, and my mom and I went halfsies on a used car a few months later. I ended up getting in an accident where my car was destroyed and I didn't have the money to replace it, so I went without. Other people got their licenses after me, and their parents bought them cars right away. It just seemed unfair.

Then last year in my spring semester when deciding what I would do for a sophomore year in terms of living, the people I wanted to get in an apartment with didn't have the concerns I did because they weren't paying for their own rent. Of course, this annoyed me because it again was seemingly unfair, but that is life, and I'm grateful that it is the way it is.

While living this life I am going to hit bumps, get mad and feel like everything is stacked up against me, but the way I was raised has prepared me for it all. Because I was raised to work hard and fight for what I believe in, I have grown to be a very well spoken and determined individual. I have learned how to be self-sufficient and definitely know how to manage money. I am prepared to go out into the world and make of it what I want to, thanks to my parents.

I am a very independent person who has always looked out for others and not just myself, but I also know how to be a little bit selfish when it is needed. I learned the value behind earning money and putting it towards things you want and/or need, like when I finally saved up enough on my own to by myself a car. Sure the people who have things handed to them their whole life seem to have a "better" life, with less stress and more possibilities, but I wouldn't trade having to work for what I have to be handed everything even if I could.

I am the woman I am because of how I was raised, not in spite of it. I am extraordinary, motivated, and extremely determined to conquer this world because it is just another step in earning what I deserve. You get from this life what you put into it, and I genuinely believe I have and am going to continue to get so much out of my life because of the work I put in to be where I am today.

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