A Different Kind of Grief

by Lori Dwyer on February 6, 2013 · 5 comments

I miss my Gran. It’s been two and a half months since she died and I’m still surprised, slightly shocked, every time I remember she’s not here anymore.

I think of her often, and I can hear every nuance and expression of her voice and her speech in my mind. I can picture her face, see her sitting at her kitchen table eating slices of green apple with a confidence that became her; a practicality born of having lived enough, having learnt enough to be able to form whatever opinion she damn well pleased. She had such solid common sense. The older I grew, the more of my own life I lived, the more our conversations culminated in the sensation that my eyes had been opened, but my feet more firmly planted on the ground.

I miss her presence at family gatherings that haven’t even happened yet. Because the rest of us always seem to be distracted by mundane things that don’t really matter, it was always Gran that insisted we dance and laugh and wear party clothes.

My Gran, circa 1950. She would have been around twenty years old, newly married.

My Gran, circa 1950. She would have been around twenty years old, newly married.

Each and every time her death (her mortality, when she was an epic figure in my childhood and it’s always difficult to accept the mortality of demigods) my insides are washed with a sick, oily guilt. ’You have not grieved her yet, you have not mourned this at all…’ whispers a voice in the back of my mind. And there’s truth in that… I haven’t dealt with it, properly, not yet. But I can’t walk around, trying to be alive, all the while feeling guilty about that– these things happen in due time, when planets align and affairs have been settled, the kinks in karmic strings worked loose.

And because, really, while I occasionally think of myself as an expert in the experience of grief… I’ve only studied a very small part of it. I have mourned, intensely, but in an entirely different space. After Tony died I mourned someone young, something that happened suddenly, the loss my children were hurting for, my whole life torn apart.

Whereas now, I grieve for someone who was almost eighty one years old, and had been ill for long enough that she was ready to die. I mourn for the pain my own mother must be feeling. And I miss my grandmother, who had become my friend. Who taught me the beauty of growing things, and all the dignity that comes with loyalty.

It’s bearing witness to a life well lived, a culmination of years of hard work and happiness; versus wanting to follow someone’s body screaming into the fire and drag them back because surely the Universe got this wrong.

The light, the dark.


Guilt seems to be my default setting. I’m wondering how long it’s going to take, to talk myself out of that.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

KellB February 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I miss mine too. She died in October last year and was 94. We weren’t expecting it even though she was 94. We thought she’d see 100. I miss her lots. xxx


housegoeshome.com February 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Oh, Lori, electronic hugs … I miss my nan so much too. We scattered her ashes before Christmas. It’s been two years, but I think of her often, still. This is what I wrote most recently


Miss Pink February 6, 2013 at 8:51 pm

It is so hard to just not have a person who has been there your whole life suddenly not anymore. Even when you know it’s coming. I think it’s because you are caught so often in having to remind yourself they’re not here anymore, and so it hits you again, and again, and again. Please know that she loved you and wouldn’t want you to hold any guilt over her passing. Give yourself time, you’re allowed to feel sad or angry or hurt, but don’t let that be what defines your gorgeous self.


Jennylouw February 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I know Lori. I miss my Mum.


Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Lori, one of the things I’ve learnt from you in The After, is there are no rules or schedules for grief. Just reminding you of this now. Much love to you. Xx


Previous post:

Next post: