Thoughts About Grief

My grandmother died this morning. She was the only close relative I had left. All the others are on my father’s side of the family, and even though most don’t live that far away, I’ve been out of contact with them since my mother died in 2001.

I arrived early at the nursing home this morning to accompany her to the cancer center in Campbellsville. The paramedics were loading her into the ambulance when she stopped breathing. She had a living will, so they weren’t supposed to make any effort to resuscitate her, but I told them to bag her (that is, use a breathing bag to try to start her breathing again). Instead of the cancer center, they took her to the emergency room at Jane Todd Crawford. I had to sign a few papers while they worked on her. Their efforts failed and they brought me in to see her. I sat beside the stretcher and cried for a little while before going home to wake up my husband and call the funeral parlor. (I’m waiting to see them now to make arrangements.)

And after that… I stopped feeling anything.

As I said above, my mother died in 2001. In 1994, first my other grandmother died in February, then my mother-in-law (of whom I was quite fond) died in March and finally my father later in the year. I have reacted in a similar fashion every time, though after my father’s death my numbness seemed to weaken. In the few days after Daddy died, grief pounced on me unexpectedly several times and my blood pressure shot up; the first incidence of high blood pressure that I can remember (I now have to take a pill twice a day).

Is it normal to just shut down like this? People look at me weirdly, I’ve noticed. There seems to be an unspoken accusation that I don’t care on some of the faces I see. That I’ve noticed is saying something in of itself. I’m socially awkward and often downright anti-social. I’ve been told before that I’m socially oblivious, so I figure these people must be reacting rather strongly for it to be so obvious to me. On the other hand, maybe I’m just being paranoid. The grandmother who just died was a full-blown paranoid as long as I can remember, and she tried to teach me to be one too (she never recognized that there was anything wrong with her).

I can’t seem to type very well. Before I proofread this entry it looked rather like two cats were fighting on the keyboard. I’m glad Firefox has a spellchecker. I’ve also noticed that my temper is flaring a bit. Maybe I am feeling more than my conscious minds knows. But I think I’m better off not feeling anything. Pop psychology would disagree, but I don’t see how “letting it all out” would make me better. After all, she’s better off and what was best for her should be what’s important, shouldn’t it?

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