Two white Easter Lily flowers on a dark green surface. Lilies are often used at funerals and so have been added to this post about grieving the passing of a loved one. Image by kf4851 (iStock).

Image by kf4851 (iStock)

A Pause for Grieving

Emotional trigger alert: this post discusses themes of death and dying.

I’ve paused my blog because my last living parent passed away recently. This post shares what I’m learning through my grieving process.

Grief is a complex emotion.

The grieving process takes different forms for different people. Grief itself is a complex emotion, comprised of multiple feelings. For me, the combination of feelings that make up my grief are confusion, disbelief, anger and sadness. The dominant feeling and its intensity changes daily.

I can prepare practically for the loss of a loved one by managing their affairs.

Our family was well prepared to execute the administrative tasks required when someone passes. I am extremely lucky that managing my loved one’s affairs has been orderly and not stressful. Administrating their affairs provides me with the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing what’s needed while allowing me to be detached emotionally from the process. For me, it’s the easiest form of grieving.

I cannot prepare emotionally for the loss of a loved one.

I’m very fortunate that the relationship I had with my loved one was in good order. Expressions of appreciation and love were conveyed while they were still alive. I had let them know that I loved them. I thanked them for everything they’d done for me. I was sure to spend plenty of quality time with them when they were alive.

Perhaps this is why I am surprised that my grieving process has been so difficult. I thought I was better prepared, emotionally. I felt that they had prepared me for adult life in a way that would make it easier for me to carry on without them. Now that they are gone, I realize how much I loved having them in my life.

Triggers for sadness come in all forms.

“It’s so curious; one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.” – Colette

Even a date appearing in an email can be a trigger for my sadness. My 2021 calendar now has an abrupt distinction in my mind between the ‘before times’ when my loved one was still healthy and the date after they checked into the hospital.

My grieving process is inversely proportional to my loved one’s suffering.

The manner in which my two parents passed is very different. With my first parent who passed away more than 13 years ago, I’ve learned that when they suffer for a long time before they pass away, my grief is lessened because it’s mixed with feelings of relief, both for the ending of my loved one’s suffering and, perhaps selfishly, the hardship of caring for them. When my loved one’s health decline is brief, as was the case this year, it’s easier on the loved one as they’re not suffering for too long. However, I’ve found it more challenging for me because there is little opportunity to emotionally prepare for their absence.

I’m taking a pause for grieving.

I’m working through my grief. I’m taking care of matters that need taking care of. I’m prioritizing self-care. Thankfully, I’m not afraid of difficult emotions. I’m extremely fortunate to be receiving a lot of support during my grieving.

My ask of you, my reader, is that…

… if you’ve met my loved one, grieve with me.
… if you’ve never met my loved one, and you know me personally, grieve for me.
… if you’ve never met me or my loved one, kindly be patient while I grieve.

Older white person’s hand being held by younger white person’s hand. Older person is laying on hospital bed and their hand has an IV injection tube attached to the top of their hand. Image implies caring for an older parent in the hospital. Image by AtnoYdur (iStock).

Image by AtnoYdur (iStock)


  • Georgia
    Posted at 16:22h, 30 December Reply

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I hope it helps others to deal with grief.

    • Mona Benjamintz
      Posted at 17:53h, 30 December Reply

      Thanks Georgia. I hope so too. It’s easier to deal with difficult feelings when we speak openly about them. Grief is a shared human experience.

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