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Between the Lines: Coping with loss is painful but death is inevitable

“Grandpa passed away, call back to me.”

That text from my dad shocked me beyond words my freshman year. It seemed surreal. I felt my senses go completely haywire. I felt numb all of a sudden. I remember walking into a room and then feeling my world collapse around me. No more phone calls, no more conversations…my grandpa was dead.

I had similar experiences when my grandma had passed away from cancer a couple years prior to my grandpa’s death. I expected it, but the feeling didn’t come any easier. Knowing when someone was going to die didn’t make things better. Not knowing made it even more confusing and difficult.

Several times death came at unexpected times for me. Sometimes, I questioned why it happened and others I knew it was going to happen eventually, but there was no keeping my mind at ease. Nothing helped. I sought grief counseling during school to help cope with my grandfather’s death and yet my questions couldn’t be answered: why does death have to be so unexpected?

My grandfather that’s still alive recently had a stroke that left him paralyzed on the entire left side of his body. He always tried to lighten the mood by joking to me that it was nothing and that he’ll be coming for my college graduation next year. My mom is planning on flying over to South Korea in a couple weeks to spend some time with him, yet I still feel helpless. Another loved one suffering.

Death is a natural process of life. Everyone will die and that’s something that I am choosing to accept. But the acknowledgement of death doesn’t make the pain any less excruciating.

I remember my long periods of anger and resentment toward people who seemed to have their life together. There came a time where I despised God and placed the blame on him for taking away my loved ones. In a way, my faith was shaken and I ended up pushing away the loved ones who came offering support. I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear, “I’m there for you.” Why? How could they possible feel what I feel? What answers could they give me?

Death, in a way, spun my life around. I coped in unhealthy ways. Over-eating, not eating at all, sleeping long periods of time or just completely throwing myself into my work. I just wanted to be alone. I burst into tears randomly or threw hissy fits.

But my wonderful friends stood by me the entire time. They were gently, yet firmly trying to help me move forward by helping me see the good in life. See, with death, it doesn’t mean to keep holding onto the hurt. Death is painful, yes, but it’s OK.

We can never accurately predict when someone will depart from our lives. But, there will always be people there to help you carry on. Don’t put your life on hold.


Hannah Yang is a junior studying journalism and is a staff writer for The Post. Email her at

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