Grief: A Ramble

Trigger warning and disclaimer: this post contains details of grief and loss, as well as mentions of depression. If you do not wish to continue or potentially be reminded of your own, please do not feel the need to continue reading.

For the past two years, my tunnel of darkness kept getting darker and darker. Unable to see the point in continuing, I did the bare minimum of survival. My grandmother saw me through as much as she could, helping me remember all of the good things that come from being alive. And although I saw her smile only with my sisters and cousins, with only a stoic face in my presence, I miss her. Everyday.

Who was she?

On March 6, 2024, Eune Lo passed away. My paternal grandmother and the woman who raised me for over half my life. She passed peacefully, in her home, surrounded by people that loved her. For all 91 years of her life, she cared for others. Having escaped and surviving the deep conflicts and war in Viet Nam, she fled with her children to Des Moines, Iowa, leaving behind her husband, presumed dead as a prisoner of war.

After coming to the US, she worked in a factory, single-handedly providing for her family for decades, only retiring when urged by her children, who contributed all they could from their jobs. Although she has only three biological children, she adopted my father and, later, many of his brothers and sister too. She never hesitated to do so, never hesitated to care for them and never turned her back them.

My grandmother hardly cried. She encouraged me not to as well. She taught me how to carry burdens without breaking my back, the way she carried me on hers. Literally. Up and down stairs, though she was 71 years old by the time I was born. Every time I cried; she soothed me. Even if I cried due to injuries that I incurred because I refused to listen. And she never blamed me for the strain that developed in my father and I’s relationship.

She taught me how to be strong, just as she taught me how to love.

Now she’s gone…

I always aspired to be like my grandmother. To be a person who loves openly, welcoming everyone with open arms. And I miss her every day that she is no longer with me. I cried waterfalls for days, unable to stop when not in the presence of others. In front of my aunts and uncles, I held back every tear I could, refusing to let them see me cry.

What I’ve learned

During this time of grieving and loss, I learned so much. I learned that I don’t know how to comfort my father; he doesn’t know how to comfort me. During the hardest times in our lives, my father and I didn’t hug. We didn’t cry together. We spoke nicely to each other for the first time in so long. We put together her remembrance playlist. But that was the extent of the comfort we gave.

My fiancé encouraged me to do more, to at least give my father a hug. But I couldn’t do more than a side hug…once.


That might be my biggest regret. Not learning how to comfort my father. Not giving him a hug. I may not have grown up with physical affection, but I could have tried harder.

Another regret I will always hold is not having a picture of my fiancé and grandmother together. I will never forget the day he asked her for her blessing to marry me. Yet, in all the time he knew her, we never took a picture of them together. By the time he knew her, she was constantly in a hospital bed, thin and frail. That wasn’t how she wanted to be remembered. Yet, he didn’t care and neither did I. We visited her every week. I wish I got one photo.

I will forever hold every memory of her close to my heart. Even the days where she looked at me, pleading me to get my fiancé to stop talking, as he rambled on to her about his childhood, me, or how much he loved spending time with her as much as I do. And maybe one day, I can learn to comfort my father, just as I hope my father learns to comfort me.

If you or someone you know is battling grief, crisis and/or depression, call the 988 hotline or online chat with a crisis professional here.


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