Right now I’m staring straight ahead at my twenties and still lost on how I’ll be navigating through them without having my grandmother around. With my birthday coming up in less than a month, I’m a little bit reflective. (22 does that to everyone, right?)
Here are the top lessons I learned as a teenager dealing with my mom’s death:
(1) Friends will piss you off sometimes, but you can’t hold this against them
If you’ve lost a parent or someone very close to you, you learn to appreciate life/them in an entirely different way. This sometimes means that when your friends sit at the lunch table complaining about how annoying their parents are, or how they wish X person would just go away, you get annoyed at them. It’s normal for you to think, “man, if only they knew how sucky life is without them,” it’s your prerogative and your life has been colored by your personal experiences. So, yes, sometimes your friends will piss you off, but this isn’t your fault and it isn’t theirs. In these moments the best thing you could do is either change the subject or try and move past it.
(2) Problems are relative
Once new friends I made started to learn that my mom died when I was 10, suddenly (in their eyes) their problems were SO not as bad as mine. But, problems or dilemmas are all relative. There are days when I’m sad about not having my mom around, but there are also days when I’m upset because the boy I like doesn’t text me back. Everyone’s problems are big to them and that’s a really important lesson to learn.
(3) It’s okay to miss someone who died
This should be a given, right? Unfortunately it’s not. A lot of people may think that a couple of months after you lose your loved one, you’re suddenly over it and getting sad is a thing of the past. SO NOT TRUE. You miss them always. The way you miss them changes — at the beginning when you miss them you may just cry, eventually the tears turn into missing them and laughing about good moments. But, I can confirm that even 12 years later there are still moments when you miss them and the tears roll through. You miss them whenever, however you want.
(4) There’s a way to find strength (and something positive) in the most devastating of moments
A while back a good friend sent me a line from a book,
“To reach the high concord, a man looks not deeper within, he reaches farther out.”
To me this mostly means that even though pity parties are necessary some days, it’s also really important to look outside of yourself and your pain. When you’re able to really look around you, you find strength and maybe a reason to keep reaching farther out.
(5) An outlet isn’t optional, it’s necessary
When I was 10 I started writing poetry. As I was teenager, I put a lot of myself into my writing and into everything I read. Through the years I realized that having an outlet is a necessity after someone dies. You feel so much, and so deeply, that if you let it fester it can do some major damage on you. I’m glad my teenage, grieving self figured this out when she did, because knowing this helped me be one step ahead of the curve after I lost my grandmom. It’s why I started Too Damn Young after all.
What would you add to the list? Tweet at us or let us know on Facebook.