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A journey through grief, self discovery & singleness

  • Writer's pictureChristine Angelique

When Life Isn’t Fair or Kind

**Grief Trigger Warning

This title is even more fitting now that I'm writing this blog post for the 2nd time since the 1st time it glitched and didn't save ANY of my work. Hours of hard work and thoughtful words vanished! (As if my therapist doesn’t have enough to deal with SIGH)

What do you do when you feel like you have no control? No matter how you plan or revise, things still don’t work out the way you had hoped. Unfortunately, that’s how I felt for my 29th birthday this year. I had always wanted to do a big celebration for my 29th birthday, the last year in my 20s. I had the idea to do an adult Field Day, like the ones we used to do in grade school. My plan was to go to a park with friends and play games/obstacles, like potato sack races, tug-o-war and run under those huge, seemingly magical rainbow parachutes that were the epitome of 90s-kid fun. The whole idea was to play up this being the last year of my youth. (I know, I know, 30 isn’t really that old and you can still have fun in your thirties, but part of enjoying your twenties is joking about how devastating turning thirty is! lol) 

Well, after losing my mom six months ago, my excitement for this birthday turned to dread. This would be the first birthday without my mother, and the thought of starting a whole new year of life without her was too heartbreaking. Especially because I happened to be in town for my 28th birthday, so I actually got to celebrate with her last year. I talked to my therapist about it, and she reminded me that there can still be happiness in sadness. She told me that if I really didn’t want to celebrate my birthday this year, I didn’t have to, but she wanted me to make sure I didn’t regret that decision later, knowing that normally I am a big birthday person. “Maybe it doesn;t have to be at the scale of your original birthday plans, but maybe you can still do something fun at the scale you can handle now.” I thought about what she said and remembered what I always write in these blog posts, that your lost loved one doesn’t want you to feel miserable, and doesn’t want you to put your life on hold at their expense. 

So, I drafted up a new plan for my birthday festivities. I still wanted to keep the child-like aspect of my original idea, so I decided to reserve a table at this cool speakeasy bar called, The Rhythm Room. They have game tables like ping-pong, pool, and shuffleboard with a board game collection and live music! This seemed perfect, and something I could handle. Rather than planning a whole event at the park, I could easily enjoy some drinks and games with friends. I planned a bougie brunch for that morning and planned to have a self-care, check-in day on my actual birthday since it fell on a Monday this year. However, little did I know, this still wasn’t how I was going to spend my birthday and birthday weekend. On February 11th, my grandfather on my dad’s side passed away. As if my family wasn’t already going through enough, here came another wave of grief. And unfortunately for me, the funeral was on February 19th… my birthday. 

Even writing this now, I still don’t think I’ve processed all my emotions. I felt numb, sad, angry, hurt, disappointed, everything. It felt cruel that my family and I didn’t even have a full year to process all our grief for my mother, before having to grieve another loss. It felt cruel that for my first birthday without my mom, I would have to go through all the funeral arrangements we just did six months earlier. Hell, it feels cruel that I have to relive all this trauma AGAIN, because I have to re-write this blog post after it crashed and deleted everything! Honestly, at this point, my life feels like a dark comedy. “Let’s see her bounce back for this one! Muhahahaha!” Well, as you can imagine, it wasn’t great. It was triggering sitting in the same place I sat for my mom’s funeral, for my grandpa’s wake. We sat in the same waiting room before we could see him. I wore the same outfit, because I had bought it for my mom’s funeral and it was the only funeral appropriate outfit I own. We have a family gravesite, so it was triggering watching them lower his coffin across from my mom’s mound that hadn’t even settled yet. It was also hard trying to navigate my role. I wanted to be there to support my family members who’s grief felt heavier than mine: my grandma, my dad, my grandfather’s siblings, and my oldest sister, Shanee, who was quite accurately, self-appointed, grandpa’s favorite. But watching them mourn made my own grief kick in. It was A LOT, and I’m sure it’ll take a few therapy sessions to fully process everything that happened.

However, there still was some good. I decided to stay with Shanee since being in my grandparent’s lake house again, also felt too triggering. We’re 14 years apart, and we didn’t get to spend much time together in childhood, so it was nice getting to spend time with her and my niece and nephews. I even got to meet my baby grand-nephew who is a bundle of joy! (Yup… I’m a Great-Aunt… I know… CRAZY!!!) Shanee, Kaela, and I decided to do a sister’s book club to have something fun to do together and a reason to check-in every week, so given the circumstances, it was fun that our first book club meeting got to be in person. We even made our grandma our supervisor! (We just all sat around her chair and told her she’s a part of our book club now. lol) It was also nice to hear all the accolades and praises the whole town had for my grandfather at the funeral. I heard so many new stories about his childhood and character that I hadn’t before. I also got to meet many more cool, new relatives I didn’t even know about when everyone came over to my grandma’s house to talk and catch up. My grandma and Aunt Merkie even led a southern, gospel-styled version of the Happy Birthday song, and a few more relatives joined in creating a beautiful mini choir just for me. I don’t think I’ve ever spent my birthday with all of my extended family too, so this moment was special. 

I guess there truly is always some good in the midst of a bad situation. You can smile in sorrow, and cry in joy. We must try our best to remember and hold onto the good moments, so the bad ones can feel somewhat bearable. So, what do you do when you feel like you have no control? Honestly, I don’t have the answer. A girl is still trying to recover from this new grief bubble. Sometimes life just isn’t fair and can feel unkind. God’s plan doesn’t always make sense, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like he has a plan. Losing my grandpa six months after my mom isn’t fair, or kind. Spending an already emotional birthday at his funeral definitely wasn’t fair, or kind. Watching the blog post you just poured your heart into vanish before your eyes is quite literally diabolical! But, just like unexpected and unplanned woes, there are also unexpected and unplanned joys. So, if I had to give some advice, it would be to stick out the bad season because the good season has to be right around the corner. (Dear God, please! It better be!) Maybe the answer is to find the balance between the two.

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1 Comment

Mar 02

So well written, pure and honest is this blog. Times like these make us appreciate the good memories even more. God is in control and He sees us. Trusting Him in the grief no matter what. Grandma

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