This is not an easy subject to talk about, but it is a subject that I think people just need to hear about sometimes to know that they are not alone. I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s just this past summer and, believe me, it is still a day to day struggle. I have been experiencing the holidays without her and it still bothers me that she will never see me graduate. I went through a lot to maintain my grades and keep up a steady performance but I did it, and I am glad I did.
Grief is different for everybody and it is different for different people. Some people have to take time away to grieve, whereas I desperately needed the distraction. I was in UAlbany during the summer at that point and was incredibly busy with an internship. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I was not sure what to do. When my advisor came to see me and asked how I wanted to proceed with the day, I told her that I wanted to work that day. She asked again if I would be okay with that and I told her I needed it and that I didn’t want anyone else knowing about it. I wanted to be with my family but I wasn’t ready yet to fully embrace the grief. I decided to stay until the funeral. During that time I occupied myself with work and other things. I avoided seeking help or talking my feelings out. Eventually when I went home for the funeral, everything hit me in that moment and I cried and I grieved and I wondered how I would be able to return to the mindset I was in before.
I learned a lot from this and I did eventually get through to this semester. It’s not easy for everyone to get distracted and continue working, and so we cope in other ways. One thing I urge you to do is to not give up. Keep working. Take a break but get back to it. Whoever it was in your life who passed away I’m sure would want you to continue to your goals and not give up.
Also remember that people are there for you. Even if they’re not close with you, sometimes all you need is someone to listen while you cry. I had one of my co-workers visit and just listen to me cry for a little bit then get ice cream with me. We weren’t even close but I knew he was a good listener and he would understand. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. To many times do we not want people’s help because we are afraid to appear timid and weak. This won’t work in a moment like this. You are grieving and you deserve to require whatever it is you need in that moment. For me, it was holding off the news until later and to continue working. And lastly, remember that it’s not over yet. Losing someone can feel like everything that was associated with them is gone, but that is not true. They left their memories, their advice, and their love. Embrace it and keep it, and don’t forget it.
Grieving while trying to keep up some decent work can be a hard thing to go through but I promise it is possible, no matter how it is you deal with grief. Just be open to love and conversation and I promise you will get through this.