Too young to cry

There have been a lot of deaths in my family but I feel that I don’t have the right to cry about it when older relatives are grieving. Of course, you should cry, says our elder. It’s good to release your emotions.

Dear EWC

I have a big family and we are slowly getting smaller. Our uncle was taken off life support when he had a heart attack and was declared brain dead a few days after. Yesterday around 6 am there was a car crash and my younger cousin was in it. They said he died in the impact from a drunk driver. On top of that my boyfriend of about eight years decided to end things. It hasn’t been a great week. Being around family helps but when I’m alone I’m not sure how to feel so little time has passed and so much has happened. I don’t want to bother my friends since one of them is pregnant and the other is moving to her own place with her boyfriend. But when I’m alone I feel like a robot, like I can’t decide how to feel. Sometimes I feel like crying but nothing wants to come out. And when I’m with others it’s hard to feel upset when I’m around them. Like I don’t want to feel upset. Especially since I’m 21. I have a feeling like I should let them cry and comfort them because they’re all older than me. I feel sad but can’t act on the feelings, especially since death is something I grew up with. There are always meetings for the people who pass than we do the usual potlatch and the celebration of life after the funeral. I know I feel upset about the loss because my cousin was 18. He was younger than me. But after I hear the news and cry with my family it’s hard for me to cry for them again. It’s because I’m older than I feel like I should let my older family cry instead. And I’m not sure what to do… or how to feel.

Grandpa-Bill replies

I am so, so sorry that you have had to cope with so many deaths and if I could I would give you a big hug right now. This all happening in a short period of time is too much for anyone to take. You should talk to your friends because that is what friends do — support one another — and you would be there for them if they were going through a rough time. They will make time for you and be your support as you try to move forward with your life.

It is perfectly natural to want to cry over this and you should as it will release all your emotions and make you feel better. When you are around your family you should hug them and talk about how you feel and maybe think about something you could do in honor of the person so unfairly taken. For example, is there something you can do to try and prevent drunk driving? Try together to come up with a way to make something good happen from their deaths.

Writing down your feelings is a safe way to release them too. Death is always hard on those left behind but I would think that the people who died would want you to remember the good in their lives and not dwell on their death. They would probably want you to be sad for them but also to find happiness in your life at the same time.

Also, most hospitals offer bereavement groups for support. It helps to be with others who have experienced the same thing. Call your local hospital to ask if there is a group you could join and maybe with your family members.

Letter #: 440574
Category: Family

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