When I Grieve More for the Surviving Family Members than the Person Who Passed Away

I feel guilty for the way my grief shows up

Megan Llorente

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Woman sitting in bed looking out the window
Photo by NATASHA LOIS from Pexels

Grief is a murky emotion for me.

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had limited experience with death in my life.

So when my paternal grandfather passed away 5 years ago, it was my first experience of loss. And now… my maternal grandmother passed away just 2 days ago.

I’ve been navigating these experiences of grief and they’ve surprised me. You never know how you’ll react when someone passes away.

Even as I write this article, it’s a little hard to find the words. But I want to because I know how cathartic it is for me to write. And in case others can relate to my story too.

I apologize in advance if this piece isn’t as polished or put together as I would normally attempt to do. But I feel that it’s important to share it anyway.

When You Feel Nothing

My grief response has looked something like this:

  • Mostly numb
  • Lots of guilt over feeling numb
  • Trying to pull out emotion unnecessarily as a way to prove I’m grieving

When my paternal grandfather passed away, I didn’t cry until the funeral. Then, it all came out like a rushing waterfall.

But, I didn’t cry for the loss of my grandfather. I cried because I felt the overwhelming emotion of everyone around me.

As an empathic person, the emotions of others completely took over. The agony of watching my grandmother bury her husband was… indescribable. I witnessed and felt her pain down to my core.

When it came to my own feelings, I inherently knew that my grandfather was at peace. When I saw his body, I knew it wasn’t him anymore. He had already passed onto the next plane.

Yet I kept having this sense of guilt. Shouldn’t I feel more? Isn’t that the marker of how much my grandfather meant to me? Aren’t I supposed to be horrendously sad?

The reality is that I wasn’t. I felt at peace with his passing. I honoured his life and who he was to me with fond thoughts.

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Megan Llorente

Love is the answer ❤️ Certified Coach, Children’s Books Author, Avid Entrepreneur. Creator of 2 Pubs: Modern Women & MIDFORM. Find me @ Meganllorente.com