I have been thinking lately about how grief is a lot like heartbreak, though I don’t speak with much experience, because my life hasn’t held a lot of either.
But everything the movies and the books say about breaking up — the lounging on the couch, the urgent need for Ben & Jerry’s, the songs on the radio that trigger spats of uncontrollable tears, the desperate desire to be surrounded with people you really love or to be alone in a dark room — that all sounds like grief to me.
So I guess you could say my heart is going through a break-up right now.
And I’m wondering if that term is a little easier for people to understand, because the horror and the pain of a break-up seems to be pretty universal. But losing a grandparent? I think that’s hard for a lot of people to fully grasp, and the grief that follows is equally difficult to comprehend.
Some days, I am filled with renewed energy, with excitement for the plans on my calendar and the life that lies ahead.
Other days, I want nothing more than to sit on the couch and watch mindless television while curled up under a blanket.
That’s just how it’s going to be for a while.
My grandmother was not a stranger to me. She did not live in some faraway land, hours away, reachable only by telephone. She was not someone I saw around the holidays and the occasional long weekend.
I grew up three houses down from my grandparents.
Until January 11, I saw my grandmother at least once a week, every week, even if it was only for a few moments or for a family dinner.
I share her name, and she is my role model.
This is rare, I know. My relationship with my family is unique, and it’s not something everyone can really understand.
What I am asking for, though, is a little patience. The same you might give a friend who's just lost the best boyfriend she ever had.
Because I’m going through a break-up, and I could use some Ben & Jerry’s.
Note: I've decided, if Ben & Jerry aren't available, a book is a wonderful substitute. Last week, a friend sent me a Starbucks gift card and a copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid in the mail. Seriously, best grief gift ever. This entire process is teaching me what kind of friend I want to be. (Hint: The kind that sends books and thoughtful well-wishes to the people they love.)