In the past few months, I have had a handful of friends tell me that their beloved grandparent recently passed. The grieving process of a loved one is always complicated and quite unique for each individual and I have really noticed vast differences in how people process grief lately.
A girlfriend my age recently told me about her dear grandmother, age 93, that passed on just days before our meeting. As she told me about the full and rich life her grandmother lived, I could see tears welling up in her eyes. As my friend continued talking, I could see the actual healing transformation taking place as she spoke of all of the positive memories in their wonderful 40-year relationship. She finished up with, “While I will miss her dearly, I feel more inclined to be happy and celebrate my grandma’s extraordinary life.” This was a very inspiring moment for my friend and me.
On the other end of the grieving spectrum, a few months back I was told by a different friend how her grandmother, age 90, had passed on. During heavy tears and moments of near hyperventilation, she spoke about how she wasn’t going to survive without her gram and how unfair it was that her gram had left her. I responded as any good friend would – I nodded, cried with her and simply let her grieve in her own way.
The two stark contrasts in grief that I saw made me think of my own grandparents’ passing. I began to consider how Grandpa Joe would feel if my own grieving process were full of sadness and despair versus hope and celebration of a life well lived. I would imagine all grandparents find immense joy when they see their grandkids full of life, laughter and love as opposed to sadness and tears, so why not honor their memory that way as well?
I put it in my will that if Evan doesn’t party like its 1999 and shoot my ashes out of fireworks in celebration of my life, I will come back as an Elf on the Shelf and God knows what jokes I will be playing on them at night.
How have you dealt with the loss of a grandparent or anyone close to you? Is it possible to celebrate instead of mourn, or would you feel guilty by choosing joy instead of sadness?