Friday, May 10, 2013

The Grief That I am Going Through Now...

..was almost the same kind of grief that first visited me years ago.

Yesterday, my grandmother passed away after more than three years of battling cancer. When I came home from work, it did not easily sink in my mind even if my mom broke the news even repeating it thrice. A lot of people are telling us that while death is a painful phase, we should be happy that her hardships are finally over and that she's now in a happier place.

As I climbed to bed last night, I started to feel and know that the grief I felt years ago would return. And while I was not grieving out of heartbreak like how it was then, the feelings were the same -- that feeling when you wanted to sleep but you cannot, wanting to eat but does not feel like doing so.

After last night, a lot of things had changed -- immediately. For two years, the light next to my room is lit up 24/7. But last night was the first time to switch it off; and it was me who had to do it. This was the first funeral to be held at our home since we first moved here 17 years ago.

I've been employed for years and this is the first time I had to file for a vacation leave for a different reason --  bereavement.

Despite having seen three people dear to me leave for a much deserved happier trip, I've had a different, unusual perception of death; something that I find it difficult to put to words. That despite "being old enough to understand things" maybe, death is an exception to those.

The kind of grief I knew before was just the same ... or so I thought.

I still decided to go to work and my family did not object in letting me do so. I know I needed some diversion and it helped me deal with sadness. On my way to the office, I realized, God took my words seriously. I once prayed that if God will call my grandma home, that He would do it when I am away. She passed away at 2:15 pm while I was at the office and no one told me.

It also helped that I had friends around. My former teacher, Ma'am Cez took time to text me in the wee hours; office colleagues Mommy P and Cherry never failed in encouraging me to pray. Upon learning that my grandma was gone, Januver was among the first to phone me and as I broke down in chest-wrenching sobs, he kept telling me to be strong for my mom; to never let her see me on my weakest at this time. And his words were in a way, among those that I needed. I did not see my mom cry much and while she is not verbose about it, I know deep down that she was grieving too and I should be the one to lift her spirits.

During my morning church visit today, the priest mentioned the passage from John 16:20 You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. It was one of the verses that I kept when I first experienced grief and in a big way, it was a source of enlightenment. Somehow, it lightened the load. Yes, my grandma may no longer be here but she's in a far better, happier place happily reunited with my grandfather and free from pain or suffering.

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