2018 has been a very challenging year, yet one full of personal growth. The reason behind that is unresolved grief.
Grief has brought me depression, anxiety, overthinking, and countless sleepless nights.
It is also one of the topics I try to avoid at all costs—until now.
Here’s a little backstory:
My dear grandpa Ciro passed away this past June, and since then I’ve been a little bit of a mess… to say the least. From feeling completely fine and telling myself I am over it, to looking at a photo or talking to a friend about him and publicly breaking down. His passing has made 2018 a complete rollercoaster of emotions which has changed my perspective in life.
My grandpa was a man in his own world and way ahead of his time. After retiring, Ciro decided to travel the world solo and experience his last stage of life outside of his comfort zone. You couldn’t predict his mind nor his actions, and was always ready to throw in a joke or two—even if it wasn’t the appropriate time for it, which tend to happen most of the time. He gifted me books and gave me advice that my young self would later thank me for. He lived more than the average person and to its fullest potential. He was known as “El Inge” by others, the “Viajero Espacial” by close ones, and “El Cachora” by his family.
The main reason why I am finally speaking up about this topic is because grief has also brought me a lot growth... and lots of it.
The way I’ve dealt with his loss has been by attempting to start living my own life in his terms, and by that I mean… not giving a single f*ck about what anyone thinks, and just LIVING. If I want to say something, I say it. If I want to do something, I do it. If I want to go somewhere, I go. I want to make sure that I have crazy stories and timeless knowledge to pass down to another generation just like my grandpa did.
I wouldn’t have picked up surfing, tried climbing, hiked Angel’s Landing, traveled to Costa Rica, started this website, and gotten to know the amazing people I met through these experiences if it wasn’t for my grandpa Ciro. He has also brought my family closer, and made us bond in a way I didn’t know was possible. After his passing I was dreading Thanksgiving because the one prior to his sickness was one of the best times I’ve had with my family. However, this year’s Thanksgiving showed me that the Olveras are stronger than ever and are truly the people I can ALWAYS rely on. They support me, and I support them. They make me want to keep my grandpa’s legacy going, and make them proud like we were of him.
This experience also gave me a different perspective on death. Before I was very scared of the thought of leaving this earth, I now embrace it and know that when death comes it’s because God / The Universe decided it was my time. I am no longer afraid, and fully trust that my abuelito Ciro is watching over me.
With that said, there is no easy way of dealing with grief. I am not qualified to give you professional advice on it, but what I would recommend is to use this challenging experience and grow from it. Become a stronger person, and make the person you’re mourning proud. Life is way too short to waste your time wishing you got yourself out there.
Your time to live is now.