The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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An overdue letter to my grief

Illustration by Maliahguiya Sourgose

Dear grief,

You took some of the best parts of me when you took her and didn’t let me say goodbye. It wasn’t a goodbye I would ever be prepared for. She’s the reason for a lot of things, like how my eyes are both dark like honey in a low-lit room and bright like the center of a sunflower in the sunlight.

You should know I miss her every day.

I think the hardest part about grieving is not knowing where to start. You feel lost for a while. A lot of things lose meaning. There’s also this unwavering feeling of not being able to breathe the same.

When my grandma passed away I lost her and gained so much uncertainty, with daily panic attacks and relentless tears, not to mention the regret I felt for not calling her more, when a part of me knew she wished I did.

I still remember our last conversation. At the same time, I don’t know the words that were spoken, but I can paint you a picture.

It was during the summer that I was recovering from spinal surgery and the days were long. The sun woke me up every morning as it rushed through the window next to my hospital bed. My grandmother called me a lot that summer.

She expressed how she wished she could be the one taking care of me during such a crucial chapter of my life.

My grandma had a way with words, the kind that stays with you for a lifetime.

In fact, she talked me through my first heartbreak. Her words always resonated with me, especially as a kid.

She said someone who truly loves you does not hurt you but instead, they are kind to you. It sounds cliche, but as a 14-year-old those are words of wisdom beyond your years.

This woman meant the world to me growing up because we spent so many summers together. Every chance she had to visit meant we were destined to spend time together.

It was just me and her. Sleeping in during my summer vacation and watching novelas, the kind that makes you ugly cry as you bite into some homemade chicken taquitos by your bedroom window.

I would spend so much time with her as a kid. I think as an adult I simply forgot how much those moments meant to me, and remembered when it was too little too late.

Why didn’t I call more?

I don’t know. What I can tell you is that as someone laying in bed recovering from surgery, I really enjoyed hearing her laugh over the phone.

Every time my grandma called that summer I remember she would tell me about her day and her pets. My grandma had both cats and dogs and she loved each of their personalities. I remember she would describe them to me over the phone. They brought her so much joy.

Until one day during the summer, everything changed.

I don’t know what I ate that day or what I was wearing, but I can tell you that I remember the sadness in my dad’s eyes. It was the kind of sorrow that looked like the sky when it was overcast with no sun in sight.

When I got the news, I froze, and time did too. I wanted to remember the last thing I told her but I couldn’t as much as I tried.

I must have spent hours trying to recall, but all I could remember was how I thought about calling her the week prior but I kept putting it off. That fact on its own took jabs at my heart for days.

Later, I remembered I told her a joke and she laughed. We laughed. Those laughs echoed in every room that day, and they continue to rejoice in my mind as I remember her fondly in my heart.

I wish I would have called more.

After her passing, I felt sad at first and numb for a few days. What shocked me most was the anger that came after.
I was angry. Not the kind of angry where you want to raise your voice a little but, the kind where everything is too loud and you feel like screaming is your only choice.

I was projecting my anger at the world.


First of all, there are several stages to grief, so it’s normal.

Second, I couldn’t understand how she passed away before I could fly out to see her like we had planned. The sensible part of me knew that it was both out of her control and mine, but the broken part of me did not understand words.

Shortly after letting all the anger out, I felt an overwhelming amount of sadness.

Then my biggest question and concern was her actually passing. I stayed up sometimes worried that she was all alone in those last moments.

Grief is described as a profound sorrow – at least, that’s what comes up if you Google it.

Grief is more than sorrow.

It is a goodbye you’re never truly ready for. It is sadness in a capsule that traps any concept of time.

It is: I wish I would have called more. Can we please turn back time?
It is: I really wish she knew how much I loved her and still do every day.

It is a love that’s never ending but the connection is distorted by unforeseen circumstances.

After grieving for over two years, I can honestly say that the hardest part is being gentle with yourself; loss is a complex feeling and it requires patience. From what I gathered, if you are running low on patience to handle yourself with care, surround yourself with those who love you and can send some your way. Talking about your loss is helpful during the grieving process.

Someone who still misses their grandma

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