On May 1, 2014, my grandmother, Phuong Tran, passed away because of a stroke. We were so close and I usually stayed in her house while my parents were in their business trip. The days before her death, there were no signs of sickness. She did her daily jobs as usual. We also made some cookies with her new recipe. The day she dies, in that morning, I asked her if I could hang out with my cousins and come home at night. And, when I came home, I saw her sleep on the couch, I woke her up to ask if she wanted to go to her bedroom and realized she is dead.
I called 911, but it was too late; the stroke took her away from me. After her death, I denied the truth and blamed myself for what I happened. Whenever I think about that day, I was depressed and bargained for what happened. And more importantly, I learned to accept the fact and moved on. When my grandmother died, I tried to deny that painful truth to avoid anguish; I comforted myself that her disappearance was temporary. After I came home from school, I sat on her couch and imaged, “she is on her summer vacation and will be home soon. As a character, Juliet, in Alice Munro’s story, “Silence,” does when her daughter’s disappearance, “every day when she was on her way home from work, she had wondered if perhaps Penelope would be waiting in the apartment” (Munro 133). She knows her daughter is gone, but she denies it to escape the sorrow. It was not because I did not know that my grandma is gone, but it hurt to accept the heartbreaking reality. I replaced it with the thinking that it was not true and I expected that I would see her walk through the door at the end of the summer.
Kubler – Ross and Kessler mention “Denial and shock help us to code and make survival possible. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle” (Kubler-Ross and Kessler 10). The pain of losing the loved one is too deep, she can not handle the fact that Penelope is really gone and as a result, her mind creates the lies that Penelope only temporarily goes somewhere and will return home to see her someday.
And, the temporary denial seems to help Juliet evade the feelings of being left behind and ease the pain caused by the disappearance of her daughter, however, she cannot run away from the truth forever as she is forced to face it and that is the moment all the feelings she denies come and surround her. The moment when I realized that my grandmother passed away and did not come back, I blamed myself that it was my fault. She is gone because I left her alone at home that day and hang out with my cousins instead.
Kubler-Kloss and Kessler say, “you are the one left standing in the wake of your sorrow, seeing the past as something you did wrong” (Kubler-Kloss and Kessler 67). The feeling of guilt and self-blame were with me whenever I either thought about her or saw her belongings. At any time I remembered that she passed away partly because of my fault, the tears rolled down. According to O’Rourke, “it is not unusual for a mourner to talk out loud- to cry out- to a lost one, in an elevator, or while walking the dog. ” My grandma left me behind with the feeling of guilt in my heart.
The stroke took her away because I was not at home to save her. I blamed myself for what happened. And as the consequences for the mistakes I did, I bargained for what happened and I wishes that I might be able to fix it somehow. After blaming myself for what I did wrong, I thought if I could go back in time and be with her that day, if I did not go out with my cousins, things would turn out differently; maybe my grandmother could be alive. I was sad about her disappearance because we were so close and I did not know what I would do without her.
The feeling of guilt and grief about her death kept me from sleeping and I also lost my interest for my daily activities. Freud says, “This picture of a delusion (mainly moral) inferiority is completed by sleeplessness and refusal to take nourishment, and- what is psychologically very remarkable – by an overcoming of the instinct which compels every living thing to cling to life” (Freud 246). Whenever I went to bed and saw the pictures we took together, I could not sleep. I also did not have any interest to think which foods and beverages I needed to take for a day.
Maybe, it was depression which Kubler-Kloss and Kessler note, “is not a sign of mental illness, It is the appropriate response to a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone. Why go on at all? ” (Kubler-Kloss and Kessler 20). I had no motivations to keep going. I let sadness took over my feelings and separated myself from life. I was drowned by the feelings of depression until I realized those things can not bring my grandmother back and I needed to deal with it.