This has been the worst time in my life

Columnist Chelsea Arnett remembers her grandmother. Photo courtesy: Arnett

When a family experiences a loss, a slew of emotions, reactions and coping techniques will arise, all at various times. Shutting down, crying, sleeping, battling to sleep, numbness, despair and denial are all part of the grieving process.

Everyday since the end of August has been a struggle for me. I lost three relatives in a span of three weeks.

First my uncle, then my grandmother, and lastly my cousin who I had just seen at my grandmother’s funeral.

I’ve lost relatives before, but nothing compares to losing three in a row mere weeks apart from each other.

I was at work when I received a call from my mother. She informed me that the doctors said my uncle would only live for two more hours.

I called repeatedly to say goodbye but my call never reached him. Forty-five minutes later, my mom called me again, informing me that my uncle had transitioned.

Not being able to say goodbye to someone you’ve known your whole life hurts you in a different way.  You begin to think about all the time you had to tell someone how you really felt about them. The time you shared, the laughs all start rushing through your mind.

After my uncle passed, it seemed like things were slowly getting back to normal. My grandmother always went to the hospital and came home. This time was different. She was tired of fighting.

Days after my uncle passed, my grandmother passed. Unlike my uncle, I was able to speak to my grandmother. I told her I loved her, thanked her and told her it was OK to leave.

My cousin, whom I’d seen only a handful of times, came home for my grandmother’s funeral. We were so happy to see him. His bright smile could light up any dark street.

The day after my grandmother’s funeral, he was killed.  Last Sunday, my aunt also passed.

This has been the worst time in my life. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I’m still trying to make sense of it all and process it.

My family is grieving all of the losses, especially my grandmother’s death. In our family group chat, someone will either post a picture, send a voicemail or share a funny memory of her.

Nothing will be the same without her. Holidays, family gatherings, her cooking and her jokes will all be missed. She was truly the glue that held us altogether.

Remember to cherish the times with the ones you love. Tell them how much you appreciate them, love them and care for them.