My grandma died a month ago.

grandma and I sailing

I've struggled to muster the strength to talk about it. I've started and stopped several times. Trying to “memorialize” her, document my memories, offer some personal insight.

Those things feel trivial. How do I even begin sharing facts or tidbits about the person who was a warm constant throughout every step of my life? This woman inspired me to be who I am today. She taught me about faith and forgiveness, laughter and strength.

In a way I'm thankful that I had to see her go, because I now have a deeper understanding. Her perpetual optimism and joy is no longer a mystery. In losing my grandmother, I gained a newfound perspective. I'm not afraid of dying; I'm only concerned with living the best I possibly can. What we're given here precious and short and incredible, and I believe we meet our God and our friends on the other side.

me and grandma at bridal shower

Reflecting on her memory, I am excited and confident in every moment.

Many people have asked what I needed most in the wake of losing her. A supportive shoulder, a scripture, a helping hand? More than anything, I needed to step away. I needed silence. The world and all of the people felt like a roar drowning through my over-crowded head. I needed space to evaluate and to center myself.

grandma and baby

I am so thankful for the friends who came forward and offered sweet, simple words. “I'm sorry. I love you. Take your time. I'm here,” and then stepped back to let me feel. To let me burrow in work. To let me hold my children tight. To let me cry, run, sleep, write, shower, scream.

okay

Everybody grieves in their own way. The aftermath of loss is multi-faceted. It can be elusive, maniacal, ugly. To others suffering with waves of grief, new or renewed, I urge you to give yourself a break. Express your needs, be it a week on the sand or a month's worth of food in the freezer.

You know best what will heal your soul.

learning to live with grief in honor of our loved ones

Say what you feel and don't be sorry for it. Approach others with love and demand the same in return. Hold your heart sacred.

Grieve the loss by honoring your own life.

That's how I'm getting through.