Monday, March 25, 2013

I like to prepare for sad events with pre-event grieving.

Last week I got an email from my mom with the subject line "Grandpa." In the past when a name has been in the subject line it has meant that person/animal/friend has passed away. So understandably, clicking the email to read more involves the quickening of my heart and tears already starting to flood my eyes.

But my Grandpa hasn't died. And from her email, it was hard to tell how serious the situation was. I mean he was in the ICU so things weren't great, and when you're 91 any trip to the hospital isn't going to be easy to recover from. But still, it wasn't until we skyped over the weekend that my parents told me how close it really was. He's moved out of the ICU now, into a rehab facility, but he is very weak.

That night I sobbed.

One of the hardest parts of being an expat is accepting that living this life means I'm going to miss out on the one a world a way. I can't help my parents deal with troublesome grandparents and I can't receive news in a way that helps me to grieve the way that I'd prefer to grieve. In fact, the amount of family news I receive is carefully filtered by what and when my parents tell me.

My preferred grieving method is to grieve before the event happens at all.

My eldest brother is 11 years older than me. He left for college when I was only 6. For six months before he left I cried myself to sleep every night. I was devastated by the fact that he was leaving. I grieved for the loss of him in our house long before the loss was real. By the time he actually left, I was still sad - inexplicably so - but I held myself together for the most part.

I like to think it's because I love to be organised, so I try to organise my emotions for events that are about to happen in the near future. However silly that may be.

I realise that I can't always pre-grieve. I can't grieve for unexpected events and living in a constant state of sadness over events that could happen in 20 years (my parents will die some day...I get that.) is no way to live at all.

So, here I am.

I wrote the above paragraphs last week. My grandpa is still alive, albeit barely.

26 comments:

  1. Oh, I really hope that he will recover soon! I can imagine that it is hard not being able to be close to your beloved ones in such events, but I am sure they will understand. They only want you to be happy too, and if that's where you are right now, it'll be fine.
    All the best for your Grandpa & strength for you and your family going through a difficult phase of life, which can be cruel sometimes.

    Love,
    Svenja

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  2. :-(((

    Aw, Deidre.

    This is heartbreaking.

    I'm sorry to hear about your gramps and that he's barely alive. Don't know what to say. Please take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. I can only imagine how hard it is being half a world away.

    ::hug::

    (This was beautifully written, by the way.)

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  3. Saying goodbye is wretched business; it must be all the worse when you're a world away. I'm so sorry.

    Much love to you and your family . . .

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  4. I'm so sorry that you're going through this. I lost both my grandparents on my mom's side rather close together and it's a hard thing to go through. Grandparents are so very special. Your family is in my thoughts and I hope it's a peaceful passing.

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  5. So sorry about your grandpa. My thoughts are with you!

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  6. Such a gripping post. I hope he gets better, but I know what you mean. ..about living and grieving.

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  7. Sending lots of love your way <3

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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  8. I am so sorry to hear about your Grandpa's condition! I am thinking of you! And I know how hard it is to be far away from your family, sometimes it really feels so terrible not to be a part of everything.

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  9. I'm so sorry that you are so far away from your family right now. Sending you all sorts of positivity!

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  10. I think I am a pre-griever too. And this subject has been on my mind a lot lately. I've been spending more time with my husband's grandad than my own grandma and I really hate that. This is definitely the worst part of expat life and I wish it could be better. Hang in there. PS: my mom titles serious emails like that too. Is it a mom thing?

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  11. I know how you feel hun, my grandad is not very well either and is in hospital right now. My thoughts are with you, and hoping for good news for us!x

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  12. Oh, Deidre! I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I know how hard it can be to deal with these things from thousands of miles away. Let me know if there's something I can do!

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  13. I hate emails like that. :(

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  14. *hugs* I'm sorry to hear about your grandpa. hearing bad news through email is never fun :-(

    - Val @ KnotTiedDown.com

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  15. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this stuff!! I can understand, to an extent. My father has dementia and since I moved to Alaska, has had to move out of our house and into a nursing home. There's a LOT going on, I know, but I only get told about 10% of what's going on. For some reason my mom and sister don't like discussing it, even though they know they're the only way I'll know what's happening with the situation. I know Alaska isn't another country, but it certainly feels like it - the price of a plane ticket back to Washington is about the same as if I wanted to go to Europe. It's insane. Anyway - I'm really sorry about your grandpa. HUGS!!! <3

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  16. I'm sorry to hear about your grandpa, but I'm glad he's ok. We all deal with situations like this differently, but if being mentally prepared makes you feel just a little bit better, I say go ahead!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

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  17. Oh dear...I'm sorry to hear about your grandpa! I'm wishing your grandpa & family strength in this time of need!

    I'm an after griever. I don't know how it happened but I'm either instantaneous sobber or sometimes I can hold on until I know everyone is okay before I can let it go. I wish & hope your okay.

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  18. I'm the total opposite. I put off grieving almost ALWAYS. When my grandma took a turn for the worst I pretty much put it out of my head, didn't talk about it, and I almost didn't even want to answer the phone when my mom or dad would call with updates.

    The only time I think I pre-grieved was when my marriage started to fail. I cried SO OFTEN and it was awful... so when we finally made the decision, I was already over it.

    I'm so sorry that you're going through this lady. Losing someone you love, no matter their age or how long they've been around, is so so hard. Keeping you and your fam in my thoughts.

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  19. So sorry to hear about your Grandfather. Sometimes it's good to cry. Here's hoping for the best!

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  20. I'm so sorry about your grandpa, and that you're having to deal with something like this while so far away. It sounds like you really understand yourself and your grieving process well though. I hope that makes things easier.

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  21. I'm sorry to hear about this D. Let me know if you need me to shout you a Chai sometime to escape from the yucky things going on for you right now.

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  22. I'm so sorry. I'm keeping him in my prayers.

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  23. I am the same way with grieving. I am so sorry you are going through this. I am praying for you, your family, and especially your grandpa!

    Remember. I am here. As always!

    XO Lourdes

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  24. I'm a fixer/doer/logic applicator when it comes to grieving. I have to rationalize things or have something to work on--a way to make things better.

    I think the way you prepare might also give you a chance to reflect and remember things others might not think of. Even if the process is more than a little painful.

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  25. Aw, Sweetie. Hard times. Sending you big virtual American hugs.

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  26. My thoughts go out to you and your family. Don't worry, you can pre-grieve and post-grieve. Do what works for you - really.

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