It seems like when you lose a loved one, everyone has an opinion about grief. The truth is that grief looks and feels different for everyone. It’s only been two months since my grandmother passed, and while sometimes it feels like so much time has gone by, the reality is that not enough time has for me to process all of my emotions. I’ve tried taking time off from working, burying myself in work, attending lots of events, and doing nothing at all to help me cope during this transition. I’ve created new routines and abandoned them before promptly canceling everything on my calendar only to reemerge with a new schedule. The things that I thought would trigger me haven’t, yet the things I wasn’t expecting have. Every day is a new day when you are grieving a loss, and you never quite know how you are going to feel.
Not only have I been processing the loss of a loved one, but I have also been mourning my identity as a caregiver and feeling the need to take a step back as an advocate. I was always proud to advocate on behalf of my grandmother and to share our story, and while I still believe there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on behalf of current and future caregivers, I also recognize that I’m not the person to do it right now.
The other day, as I was on Instagram, I caught a story from my business coach who shared the importance of knowing what you want in life. It resonated with me so much because, at the moment, I feel like I don’t have a clue. As a caregiver, I wasn’t geographically mobile for obvious reasons, but now that I can go anywhere and do anything, it feels paralyzing. To be honest, it’s been a while since I thought about what I wanted, and probably even longer since I sat down with those thoughts and wrote them out. This is the first time in my adult life that nobody depends on me, and while I should feel like I can come up for air, it feels more suffocating than I could have ever imagined.
In a way, I feel like I’m living two lives. On the one hand, I’ve kept myself busy with riding and workouts in the Hamptons. It has been a good distraction for me, especially given I spend so much time working from home during the week sans co-workers. But on the other hand, there is a sense of guilt that comes with moving ahead with your life after someone passes. I try to remind myself that I carry my grandmother with me wherever I go. But still, it’s hard.