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I’ve had a really good life. I’ve been blessed with so many things. A good education, more than enough food on the table, an amazing family. I had never really experienced anything difficult. Sure, I’ve been challenged, but nothing has compared to this.

A couple of weeks ago I really experienced loss for the first time in my life. My grandfather passed away, quite unexpectedly. The week and a half he was in the hospital are some of the worst days of my life. It was heartbreaking to see him there, lying in a hospital bed, unable to communicate with us. We talked and sang to him, hoping he could hear us. We discovered that there was nothing we could do to improve his health. We could only make him comfortable at the end.

I have never had to say goodbye to someone knowing it would be the last time I’d be able to tell them how I felt. To know that I could never tell him I loved him again, could never thank him for the huge part he’s played in my life, to never kiss him on the cheek again. I did say my goodbyes though. As hard as it was, I would never trade that moment for anything in the world. I pray with all my heart that somehow he heard me.

The days that followed his death were very strange for me. I felt numb. I wouldn’t let myself think about him for fear of breaking down. I knew I needed to let myself feel, but between teaching and finals I was so overwhelmed that I kept putting it off. But I  could only put it off for so long.

Church is what really did me in. Having people come up and say how sorry they were triggered all of the emotions. Since then, I frequently think of him and cry. I miss him so much. It has been so weird not having him around. It feels like he’s on a trip and will come back soon, but I have to keep reminding myself that he’s not coming back. I feel denial, anger, and depression all at the same time. I’m learning to deal with these emotions every day.

I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad. I know he’d want me to be strong for him, but right now this is what I’m going through. They say things get better, and I’m hoping they will. But for now, I’m just trying to get through each day, trying to cope with all of these emotions, and trying to live in a way that he would be proud of.