When people you love die

We grieve more for ourselves than for those who have died

One of the only things guaranteed in this world is death and so it surprises me how unprepared we are as a species for when someone we love dies.

We are often completely thrown without the slightest idea how to treat people who are grieving. A little pat on the back and a sorry for your loss is usually the go to response. But really, how useful is that kind of behaviour and what is a good way to cope with actually losing someone. I don’t know. Death is fucking complicated.

So in the last few months, I’ve lost two very loved and dear members of my family. My grandfather died in September and my grandmother a few months later, just after my birthday in January. It sucks.

My family feels like it has broken into a thousand pieces.

Both of them suffered towards the end of their lives. Severe and crippling pain. My grandfather from the side effects of cancer and my gran, died of a broken heart. Of course in the end the symptoms were not a broken heart but after her life partner died she gave up the will to live. She just gave up.

I wanted them to meet my son, my grandfather died the week he was born. We hadn’t even left the hospital yet when I got the news. My gran died while I was in hospital for surgery in January. Fuck My Life. Seriously. I feel like it’s some sort of twisted and cruel fate but it’s not. It’s just life and life isn’t pretty.

So why aren’t we prepared for the only thing that is guaranteed to happen to us? Because it’s ugly. There were days I knew that dying was the answer in both their cases. I didn’t want these proud people to suffer. I felt myself quietly thinking it would be best if they just let go. I was mentally prepared for it. So why was it such a mind fuck when it happened? Well, quite simply,because no matter how prepared we are to let go of our loved ones, it’s ourselves we grieve for. We grieve because we will never see them again. Because we will never speak to them again. We grieve for all the things we won’t be able to show them and tell them and share with them.

My regrets are things like, why didn’t I have my son sooner. Why didn’t I spend more time with them. Why didn’t I…

The truth is, how could I live my life in anticipation of their death. I hate that my child will not grow up knowing the love of my grans hugs. Or the jokes told all day long by my gramps but the truth is, my child will have other experiences. He will be loved by other people. He won’t miss out on anything because he never knew them. It’s me I feel sorry for. I wanted them to see my child and be proud of me. It’s my loss. It was never about them or him. It’s all about me.

I grieve for myself. For all the missed moments and lost opportunities. I grieve for me.


Jonelle | Tyranny of Pink




  • Like waves on the shore...the tides of grief - Tyranny of Pink
    16th March 2018

    […] With every passing moment, you simply learn how to smile through the tears and swallow them down. You learn to say I’m fine when someone asks how you are. You learn to shut up. To carry on. You let your grief fall deeper and deeper into the depths. But […]

  • Karen Shatafian
    18th March 2016

    This is so raw and beautiful! I am sending you virtual hugs! My mom died before my kids were born and that is one of my greatest heartaches. They have come to know her through me. I talk about her constantly and although it isn’t the same, they have a sense of who their amazing grandma was. Xoxo

  • CharlieW
    22nd February 2016

    Babes. So, so sorry! xxx

  • Cassey Toi
    17th February 2016

    All the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeg hugs.

  • ChevsLife
    17th February 2016

    Jonelle, this is so true and so very sad. I am so sorry for your loss . . .

  • Bonnie
    17th February 2016

    I have no words. Just lots of love and the biggest hugs. Love you xoxo

  • TyrannyofPink
    17th February 2016

    Irene, thank you for your beautiful and sad comment. “A part of our own life has died” … no words are more accurate. When my father died, everything about my life had to change and my own life was over before I even realised it. Death is so powerful and it doesn’t get easier to lose someone you love no matter how many times it happens. Thank you for reading this rather melancholic post! x

  • Irene Eleftheriou
    17th February 2016

    As someone who has tried to make sense of this kind of loss for a long time, I also came to the same realisations, how it is all about our loss. There is no preparation, no rehearsal and no way of trying to live differently. Life happens, and death happens and I suppose it shakes us so much because when someone we love dies, it means a part of our own life dies, so the impact is direct. We grieve for the part of ourselves and our lives that we can’t touch again. Thank you for the post – sometimes we even need reminders of things we thought we realised long ago. X

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