“Grief” By Jazzmin Lewis
Grief is never convenient. It’s the unwelcome guest. The one that comes unannounced and stays too long. It leaves you feeling like you’ve been steam rolled. It makes you acknowledge it.
My Grandmother died in 2015. It was an already difficult time for me, as I was dealing with postpartum depression. I had to prioritize my own survival at the time. So, I compartmentalized and readied myself for even more loss. We moved out of my grandmother’s home. Packing things that meant so much and donating all of it before closing the doors to my childhood home forever. Through all of this, the sadness reared its head. Anger I wasn’t allowed to express, tears I quickly wiped away while packing boxes...clearing out her bedroom. That’s where I found her crochet hooks and knitting needles. Of all the things I kept that belonged to her on the physical plane, I will be forever grateful for the supplies she left behind.
The model for grief pales in comparison to what it actually feels like. Initially, I was so numb already that I didn’t feel the shock of the news. I felt as if I knew it was going to happen. There was no denying it. Not in how my mother wailed and drank. Not in how empty it was in the house. Not in the increase of time I had from not having to take care of her. Sure, I was angry and depressed, but not over her death. I had to accept it. She was gone. We couldn’t live in the house anymore. That was that. Nothing prepared me for how fast paced it was. How it swept myself and my family into unfamiliar situations and it certainly did not prepare me for how fresh the emotion of missing her would feel four years later. I missed my grandmother. Abuela. My tough, sharp tongued Abuela. I was rattled by her absence. Like something hit the right button and left me on the brink of tears in my college’s cafeteria. I busied myself immediately after acknowledging what it the wave of emotion was, but it begged the question: Why would I not want to grieve her? She was my caretaker, my teacher, the center of my world. I cared more if she was mad at me than my own mother. She saved me from an abusive relationship even she could no longer physically touch me. “I miss her” couldn’t begin to cover exactly how I felt. There are no words to describe it.
I feel her absence and its impact, but I know that she is still with me. While I crochet, while I wear her ring. She’s watching over me. Reader, I ask that you feel. Grief is such an uncomfortable emotion, but it is important that instead of pushing it away, we let it in. Sit with it, and if need be, sit with someone you trust while you sit with it. Hold space for it. That’s where you’ll start to heal.