Teenage Mourning

March 1, 2020

My grandmother just died.  

And my mom wants to be okay. She wants me to just go on as normal. 

Often, there are two extremes when it comes to youth and mourning. At one end, the child is kept far away from the idea of death, and, when they understand, they understandably break down. At the other, the child is already, or quickly becomes, familiar with death and is expected to handle it well.  

I fell in the second category. I listened to podcasts about the funeral industry and enjoyed learning about the wild and wacky deaths of the past.  

That didn’t mean I was ready for my grandma to die. That didn’t mean I didn’t cry. Or jump in shock as I kissed her cold forehead for the last time.  

That doesn’t mean I don’t need to mourn.  

As I write this at school, both of my parents are at home taking bereavement days. I don’t want to miss school and, thus, fall behind, but coming to school isn’t very productive.  

I can’t focus. I had a calculus test today and bombed it. I barely even tried. I didn’t get to study over the weekend because I was grieving my loved one’s sudden passing. I ended up circling some random answers and writing a note to my teacher on the back of the test. I couldn’t focus. I’ll have to retake it some time when my head is clearer. 

And now, three days after the death, I’m forced to write a script for what I’m going to say at the funeral. It’s all I can think about. I’m not here; I don’t know where I am. My mind is foggy, and my eyes are strained.  

Young people need more leeway when dealing with death. My parents shouldn’t expect me to be able to go to school like nothing happened. I’m afraid to show how much the death is affecting me around my parents. I think they need me to be normal and strong, but I’m the least prepared for this. I need bereavement days. I need to mourn and grieve. That process can’t start until the funeral. It can’t start until Saturday. 

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