When I heard the news, I let out an ugly scream! I quickly felt that I was not being proactive, so I thought to myself, I need to do something. I got up and got ready- and there I was out of the house like nothing happened. Did I mention that I am a type A personality a.k.a Choleric? This is a very fancy word for, I have no idea what to do with emotions, especially sad ones. Instead of processing my emotions, I took action and ended up at the police station. Due to the pandemic, I have to get a permit to travel to a different state. When they mentioned the only way to get one is to have a copy of a death certificate, it clicked.
It was in that very moment, that I fully grasped what I had been told. My grandmother just died. WOW! That’s why I am here, that’s why I need a death certificate. Yes, I stood right in front of the entrance at the station and ugly cried. Not very proactive, now am I? I was forced to go to my apartment (in solitude), and fully process what just happened. This was something I didn’t want to do, nor did I know how to do.
When I say “grandmother,” one could easily think, oh, it’s just your grandma- the thought is correct. However, my relationship with my grandma is a little more complex than that. My mum had me when she was young, so after a few months of giving birth to me she had to go back to school. I would be left with my grandmother to be looked after. She felt I was too young to stop breastfeeding. She decided that she would continue to breastfeed me (she had a month baby)- Yes, it’s weird, I know. That obviously created a very unique bond. I also spent a lot of time with my grandmother in the different businesses she ran. I was her accountant, bookkeeper, treasurer and cashier- proudly so!
There’s no formula to grief
As a Christian, I so badly wanted to grieve the right way. I’ve "seen” how other believers grieve on social media. They celebrate the fact that their loved one is going to be with the Lord, and they see the positive of the situation, almost immediately. I desperately wanted to respond like that. I remember someone very close to me saying, “You need to grieve,” and I said, “I have no idea how.” He then said, in a very loving and gentle voice, “there’s no formula, just allow yourself to feel.”
Not only did I not know how to grieve, I also had this “picture perfect” idea of what it should look like. What was very comforting about this conflicting moment is the peace I felt. I was overcome by supernatural peace. That peace led me to go to the One who not only knows grief, but knows how to grieve. Jesus.
I prayed. It was during that prayer that God held my heart, and spoke to me. He told me that “it's okay.” He reminded me of the time when Jesus wept for Lazarus. He began comforting me through the Holy Spirit. He let me know that my grief was valid because even though I know that ‘umama’ (as I referred to her) has gone to be with God, the reality is I will no longer enjoy her on this side of life. By allowing myself to grieve, I can process those feelings.
To those who are experiencing any form of grief
It's not going to be easy, but let the peace of God guide you. There’s also no right way to grieve. It’s okay to miss them, it’s okay to not be immediately excited about their trip to heaven- God understands that. You will ugly cry, and allow yourself to go through the process.
I would like to encourage you to hold on tightly to God’s love, and rest in His arms. Don’t push Him away. He loves you, and He is with you. Your grief is valid, and don’t let people’s expectations of how you should respond, affect your processing.
I will continue to pray for you. Even as you are reading this, be encouraged and know that you are not alone. I was in tears as I wrote this (I thought I was done with the crying), but that too is okay, because I miss her.
This may sound crazy, but I trust God and I trust His will even in this time. I know that He will work all things together for good. I believe and have faith that JOY cometh in the morning. We will smile again my friend. So be encouraged!
Don’t allow the guilt
It is also our human nature because we believe in “works” so much and proving things, that we would feel guilty. Let’s not allow the enemy to use our “grieving process” as an opportunity to set us back and keep us stagnant. Live! Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for laughing, enjoying moments, and celebrating great things that are happening in your life. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten your loved one, or are insensitive, but you are still alive by God’s grace and that’s worth celebrating! Honour your loved one by living your life the best way you can. Make them proud by living purposefully and fearlessly. Show them that you still remember them by enjoying your life everyday.
“Yonke into izoba right, uThixo ndiyambulela ngobomi andiphe bona. Uzoba right ak’khonix”
“All things will be alright. I thank God for the life He blessed me with. You’re going to be alight.”
By Nompumelelo Julia Ncipha Ben (My Grandmother- our last conversation)