Death is never an easy thing to deal with but dealing with it as a sober person seems 100% harder…at least for me. I received a call last Sunday morning that I wasn’t expecting – “I have to tell you something.” (Yeah, you know it’s not going to be good when a conversation starts out like that!) “Your grandma passed away at about 10:30 last night.”
I think I was in shock because I just sat there for a few minutes without saying anything or before the tears came. Then the tears came and didn’t stop. My grandma…I was so close to her and loved her so much but I didn’t even get to say good bye or I love you one last time. And then the guilt (of not seeing her recently before she passed) set in and I was angry with myself.
Once I got over the initial shock of hearing that she passed I got pissed that no one called me when it happened Saturday night. It’s funny how the more you think about something the angrier you can get. I wanted to give everyone a piece of my mind for not thinking I (because you know it’s all about me after all – that’s sarcasm if you didn’t get that lol) was important enough to be called late Saturday night when she passed.
I hung onto this anger all through Sunday night and into Monday evening but it was during an AA meeting Monday night that made me realize it wasn’t doing me any good being angry over the fact no one called me when she passed Saturday night. Because honestly, what difference did it make if someone called me that night or Sunday morning? It didn’t change the outcome – my grandma, someone who I looked up, loved so much and was my rock for so long – was still gone. My sweet, loud, speak her mind grandma was gone…forever. And I’m sure it was a whirlwind of craziness Saturday night as everything was happening and I’m sure everyone was grieving and figured they would just wait until the next morning to make the calls.
Once I got over the anger about that, the pain and grief of losing her came back. I spent a lot of time crying. Tuesday I didn’t even get out of bed until late afternoon. I needed the day to just allow myself to feel what I was feeling, cry as much as I needed to and just not ‘deal’ with anything, anyone or life in general. I did a lot of writing in my journal too – just getting all the thoughts out as best I could.
I think about how difficult it has been to go through this last week sober but I wouldn’t change it for anything. At least I was/am sober to go through this and work through the feelings I’m having. While it’s been painful feeling everything I’ve been feeling, it’s 100% better feeling these than chugging some alcohol to stuff/numb the feelings and then wake up the next morning and have to start the drinking all over again to keep stuffing/numbing the feelings. I realize now that if I can get through something as difficult and as significant as the loss of my grandma without picking up alcohol, I can get through anything else life throws my way…as long as I stay focused on my program, continue attending AA meetings and regular check-in with my sponsor and those friends I’ve made around the tables!
Note: The picture of my grandma is from May 2011, celebrating her 87th birthday. Even at this time when dementia was taking her from us, she still had a smile on her face and I’ll never forget that smile…