I Said Goodbye To My Grandfather Before He Passed, And This Is What I Learned About Grief

Stefan Barna
Stefan Barna

“Death is a double-edged sword. On one end you’re grateful that the person is no longer in pain, and on the other you want to be selfish and wish they were still there even just to look at.

I stood in the hospital just staring at him, wishing every second I was there that he could open his eyes so that I could say goodbye or he could coherently see his granddaughter for the last time. You see, an hour of CPR does not treat the brain well and neither the body. His ribs were most likely crushed due to it and what we feel is helping him come back, is really just sustaining him.”

It’s been exactly two weeks since my grandfather passed away; I wrote this on my way to the hospital Thursday, May 19th. Reading this now fills me with joy because I actually did get to say goodbye to him.

I will never forget standing by his bedside telling him I loved him and asking him if he knew I loved him. He obviously couldn’t speak with a tube down his throat but he opened his eyes, nodded his head and tried to smile.

I’m luckier than most, because I actually got a goodbye and got to hold his hand, and know that he knew exactly who I was.

Two weeks ago, I was talking to him on the phone because he called me to congratulate me on graduating college. For the last six months, every time I talked to him, it felt like he was saying goodbye, and now I know why. My grandpa told me he was proud of me, but the words he said that I will never forget were to, “Be good to people, be kind and work hard. Remember those words from grandpa.”

I remember telling him that I would not forget those words and that I loved him. Now it’s two weeks later and the funeral was two days ago. I felt at peace after the ceremony but still wanted to cry. This was my first experience losing someone and I really am fortunate enough to be 22 and not have lost anyone until now, but that doesn’t make this any easier.

Now, grief….is the weirdest feeling I think I have ever felt. After my grandpa passed away in front of me, I walked outside of the doors and hid behind a wall so I could bawl my eyes out without anyone really noticing. That night I wanted to do anything but be at home and grieve with everyone. The next day I kept myself busy, but Monday came along and I stayed in bed all day.

Grief can only be described as this sensation where you feel a million different kinds of emotions one after the other.

Sometimes I hear a joke and I laugh hysterically, then almost feel guilty for being happy for that moment. Next, I’m going through photos and literally holding back tears because I know I’ll never see him on this earth again.

Grief feels like a roller-coaster where one second your high and the next you’re low and you can’t get off until the ride is completely finished.

Grief is a process- and a long one at that. For anyone who has lost someone and is starting to feel a little crazy with all of these different emotions arising, just know it is normal and you’re not alone.

I am going to miss my grandpa more than I can possibly express. If anything I have learned to cherish the moments I have with the people I love and care about. If you take anything away from this let it be the advice my grandpa gave me: “Be good to people, be kind and work hard. Remember those words from grandpa.” And I will for him. TC mark

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