On Mourning.

A few of you might have noticed that I was MIA last week, and I didn’t want to pick up where I had left off without acknowledging my absence. I went back and forth about what to say and how to say it, and if I’m honest — this is one of the harder posts I’ve had to write. But it just seemed so weird not to say anything, and one of my main goals with 3 Chairs has been to share these little stories of my life in a relatable, candid way — even if they’re messy, or flawed, or repetitive. So, here goes.

A few days before Thanksgiving, my 86 year old grandmother had a stroke. I rushed to Chicago to be with her and my family, and in the middle of the night on Monday, she passed away. We didn’t expect this… at least, I didn’t expect it. My grandmother has always come across as strong to me, as sturdy and resilient. I joked frequently that she would live to be 106. When I visited, she would have croissants and wedges of stinky cheese for lunch.

I’m still processing it all. In some ways, it feels like the strangest thing has happened, and I have trouble wrapping my head around it. She’s not dead. I think. Where is she? But in other ways, it feels natural, almost tangible, and very real. I can grasp the idea that she’s gone, that her presence has left, that her chair sits, now vacant.

Grief, mourning, distress — these are emotions, I’m realizing, with minds of their own. They’re hard to regulate, to temper, and they demand all of your attention. But they also open these tiny, wonderfully unexpected doors. My family, for example, we’re strong. As a team, my parents, my brother and myself, we work well together. We could build a house. I didn’t know this before — we haven’t always had to hold each other up in this way. My grandmother got to see it, in her last days. I know it made her happy.


Thank you, guys, for all your support.

Top image via this tumblr night sky from this tumblr.

12 thoughts on “On Mourning.

  1. Joy I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. She was such a giving lovely woman. I’m glad you got to be there with her.

  2. My grandmother had a stroke last May and I went home to Chicago to see her. She lived, but she was completely changed by it all. I can relate to the “where did you go?” mentality. Like it’s all some sort of misunderstanding or they’ll just wake up or something. It’s so hard watching people go, especially when it seemingly comes out of nowhere.

    I’m sorry for your loss, Joy.

  3. First time commenter, but I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while.

    Anyway, I’m so sorry to hear about your grandma. Your words really touched me — especially since I have a beautiful grandma in Chicago. My condolences on your loss. But I’m glad you have your family and you’re all supporting each other.

  4. Hi Joy,

    I just came across this post and I’m so sorry to hear about this. My mother-in-law passed away on the same day, so I can relate to what you’re going through. There are no easy answers – just putting one foot in front of the other. Thanks for being brave and sharing in this difficult time.

    ~Tanya at TheLovelyLittleThings.com

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