about grieving

Here’s the thing: bloggers don’t talk about grieving. That being said, my grandfather passed away on Sunday and it’s all I can think about. I don’t want to do product round ups or giveaways or any of that. I want to get real and talk about the pain that I’m feeling and hopefully share my experience in the hopes of alleviating someone else’s pain one day.

This is what they don’t tell you:

Airlines are not helpful, not in the slightest. When I booked my flight to see my ill grandpa, I made it a round trip ticket; I just didn’t know how serious it was. When it came time to reschedule my ticket yesterday… well, the process was cruel, brutal, and about as unfeeling as possible. After spending approximately an hour on hold and being passed from operator to operator, I was told in a harsh, blunt tone that I needed to produce a death certificate in order to get a partial refund for my return ticket. The thought alone cued a small meltdown on my part. I couldn’t possibly wrap my mind around someone in some faraway place telling me to produce a death certificate for my beloved grandpa, much less 24 hours after his passing. Even now, it boggles my mind. Logistically, I ended up saying ok (what else could I do?) and releasing my seat. The next step was securing a return flight after the services, no small feat. Honestly, the least stressful way to procure a return flight was for me to book my own flight online directly with the airlines. None of the airlines offered any assistance for bereavement at all. Really, I just wanted it to be easily fixed so I could go back to laying down.

What no one tells you is that in the midst of coping with such immense heartache and loss, all you want is to tune out as much as possible. I’ve never watched as much tv as I have in the past 2 days. I’ve never gone this long without showering and eating feels like a petty inconvenience. I sleep at weird times and only with the help of strong sleeping pills. I’m giving myself a green light to do all of those things. I cannot be held accountable to be a functional human being adult right now. The fact is that I’ve never felt a dull ache like this before, ever, and sometimes that makes it hard to breathe.

Here’s another thing: nothing feels important after death. Silly things just don’t register, even stuff that actually used to annoy me. I can’t be bothered with petty nonsense right now – I have bigger things weighing on me, like the loss of an incredible person and the knowledge that I won’t ever get to talk to him again. It’s hard because the world keeps going and, for me, it feels a bit like it’s the end of the world. I say that in the most serious, non-melodramatic way possible.

So many people say this, but my grandpa really, really was the most amazing person. Beyond everything positive I could possibly say about him, he encouraged me. He always knew what I should do, where my heart was, what I needed to hear. He always told me to go back to Seattle, that it was where I belonged. Soon I’ll be moving and all I can think about is how proud he’d be of the choices I continue to make. And that’s all that I can really hope for, at this point.

I don’t really know how to wrap up this post. I’m going to take a few days off to be with my family and to continue trying to make sense of these feelings and how to cope best. Thanks for all of your kind thoughts, but please understand that I had to disable comments on this post; I just can’t bear to read them right now.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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