Faces of Grief


    New Morning, New Mercies, Recommit 

  After losing both of my grandmothers and an aunt last year, I realized that grief was a strange place. In addition to physically losing them, I had to withdraw my energy from several. If 2023 were a chapter title, it would be “Dark Night of the Soul.” I was tired and no longer cared if I talked to certain people, and masks began to fall off faces. I accepted where I was and the red flags I pretended were not red that ultimately held me back. By the end of 2023, I had curated a plan to move forward and navigate life differently. I needed to step back, recalibrate, and begin again. 

My paternal grandmother passed in January 2023. I was figuring out a lot about my personal life during that time. I realized who had my best interest at heart and determined what I would do about it. It was a lot going on. Her passing caused me to think a lot about my life and the legacy I wanted to leave behind. Grandma Gus was a great woman; we had many conversations I will never forget. She took me in when my maternal grandmother put me out after my aunt convinced the family I was a whore (I was around 15 years old). She was accepting, and I regret not being closer to her. I often wonder how life would have been had I stayed and let her finish raising me.

On the other hand, my maternal grandmother's health began to decline. I was not speaking to that side of the family much, so it was awkward when she called for me. Sadness consumed me, and I did not know why. She raised me, but the relationship was not good. “Mama,” as I called her, chose to protect those who were doing what I was accused of while simultaneously upholding her daughters while they destroyed me emotionally, mentally, and physically. The range of emotions I've experienced thinking about how she treated me and the abuse she allowed others to inflict on me after learning how she protected my cousins has been overwhelming and unbearable. I loved Mama so much, but she, just like my mother, hurt me to my core. I gave up on my family loving me. Not only that, but I gave up on ever being accepted and treated decently. Yes, she kept me in designer and looking nice, but I was severely damaged underneath it all. I think about her and cry, but I do not know why. 

The day my maternal grandmother passed, she had just been discharged from the hospital. That day was strange because my phone activity seemed to have ceased. My daughter and I used our cards to purchase food when we noticed no charges were coming off. I continued work, but I noticed something was off. After I ended my shift, we headed to Mississippi to see Mama. She was not looking well; we sat in the room with her and talked about life as my daughter held her hand. Only thirty minutes into the visit, she took her last three breaths. My first thought was, I know she did not just die with us in here and my baby holding her hand. I rushed to her side, hoping for a pulse, but there was none. After I pulled myself together and helped my daughter, whose screams pierced, I gave her a final wipe-up, put her on clean garments, sprayed her with one of her favorite perfumes, and covered her as we waited for the funeral home. Immediately after, my phone started pinging, and those charges were reflected on my card. It was as though time had stopped. 

I find myself angry because my maternal grandmother created these monsters and then left because she realized she messed up, sad because she left unhappy with how her life turned out, wanting to curse everybody out for making her death about them, in denial about her being gone and hurt because I waited for an apology I never got.

Grief does have many faces. In less than a year, I have seen them all. 

Thanks for reading!

If you are grieving, please research grief counselors in your area, schedule an appointment, and speak to someone about how you feel. In the meantime, journal daily about how you feel in complete transparency. 

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