The Hard Lesson Learned on My 26th Birthday

On the day of my birthday I was half way around the world in Bali, on my first solo trip! I was staying in a hostel with a bunch of people I just met, which was very outside my comfort zone, but I felt good! Happy and at ease actually.

That morning I woke up to a message from my sister saying to message her back ASAP. Not the most reassuring thing to wake up to. I immediately think the worse which is something happened to her or my mom.

But in this case, she wasn’t overreacting. Our grandfather passed away.

The Hard Lesson Learned on my 26th Birthday by Charuk Studios

I didn’t know what to feel, first because I was in another country alone and I had no one to talk to about it. Second it was my birthday and a bunch of people I met were getting ready to go out for the day. Third my sister and I were planning on seeing my grandparents over Christmas but timing didn’t work out, and that was probably the worst realization…

It wasn’t something we expected or could predict that a month later our grandpa would pass away suddenly.

I guess you always feel you have more time, like it’s okay to put something off even if it’s important because there’s always next week, month or the next special occasion.

Visiting our grandparents was a big step for my sister and I because we haven’t spoken in years (since I was in grade 12, so 8 years roughly).

When my parents divorced there were a lot of family tensions, unresolved issues, & hurt feelings, which caused my sister and I to distance ourselves from our dad and his side of the family.

I have learned to give my time to the people I feel best when I’m around, sometimes that’s family or old friends or new relationships/friendships. I don’t care if I just meet someone, if they bring joy into my life I make time for them.

Then there are people you feel obligated to be around but they bring you down. It’s hard to know if you should distance yourself and by how much, have some contact, or none at all?? That’s the situation I was in.

It’s hard to process because we thought we would always have time to make amends, let them know how we felt and that we loved them. Now not being able to say that is so weird and almost incomprehensible to me, I’m still trying to process it all. I’ve never lost a close relative before, I’ve never had to grieve a death, I don’t really know how.

Just days before I left for Bali (this trip I had been dreaming about for years!) I wrote something on Instagram that said, “Stop acting like you get to live this life twice.” I meant it in terms of travelling, pursuing your dreams, taking risks, but now it has a new meaning to me.

Don’t wait to say how you feel, whether it be good or bad emotions. Don’t hold back saying I love you. If you forgive someone let them know. If you are hurt talk to the person who hurt you. Don’t hold any of your words or emotions in, let them out and say what you are feeling to those certain people in your life.

I would want my grandparents to know I don’t hold any resentments for hurtful words that were exchanged, because we are all human, we are all flawed and trying to do our best. I really hope as he passed he didn’t feel regretful for how our relationship was these past 8 years or have any regrets for that matter.

I hope he knows his life and him passing has impacted me, and I’m really trying to see light from such a sad event.

Moving forward I will say how I feel, even if it means having a tough conversation and not just pushing someone away for hurting me, or being afraid of experiencing something potentially painful.

I hope he’s not upset I didn’t make it to his funeral, I hope instead he was cheering me on for making my dream trip a reality and making the most of this one precious life.