Losing a Loved One at a Young Age

Losing a loved one at any point in time is difficult to process. Someone you deeply cared about and had a connection with is now gone. Sometimes, we don’t know how to process this, and it can be tough to overcome. But especially losing a loved one at a young age can be confusing, on top of trying to process the grief associated.

I came a little later in my family’s life where my grandparents (and grandparents figures) were in their 70s when I was born. I lost my grandmother at the age of two, and I, of course, do not remember her as I cannot recall memories from such a young age. But I lost my grandfather at the age of nine, and I distinctly remember the day I found out, what I was doing, and the emotions I was feeling. My grandfather was the first person I lost that I was extremely close to. He looked after me after school, picked me up for lunch, and had a big hand in raising me.

My grandfather passed away right before I started the fourth grade. I remember not being able to focus in class quite a bit because my mind was everywhere. I did not fully understand death and grief yet, and I felt very sad majority of the time. I also felt jealousy towards my other classmates who had at least one grandparent alive because I wanted that. It was a deeply confusing time for me, and I remember not knowing how to process my emotions. I had been sad before, but not on this level.

My family tried to explain death and the grieving process to me (in the simplest way possible, a nine-year-old could understand). Although I heard about it and it had been explained to me, I still could not wrap my head around it. Experiencing the loss of someone you deeply care about and grieving that loss cannot be explained and understood, and it is something people need to experience to understand.

As time passed by, I learned to process the grief associated with this loss. Again, I was very young, so I was able to be easily distracted. I missed my grandfather immensely (and still do eleven years later), but I knew he would have wanted me to enjoy life and to think of the happy memories with him.

Losing my grandfather at a young age allowed me to appreciate the precious time I had with my great aunt and great uncle (who were like another set of grandparents to me). I would see them as often as I could and try to spend as much time with them as I was able to. Even after both my great aunt and uncle passed away, I was glad I could spend as much time with them as I could, but I still wished I was able to see them more. Them not being in my life anymore made me appreciate the times we had together and all the memories and stories they would tell me.

Although losing a loved one is not easy, especially when you are young, it makes you appreciate the people you have in your life even more than you did. Since I do not have any grandparents figures in my life, I am more appreciative of my parents, especially as I see them become grandparents and have the qualities my grandparents had. I try to spend as much time with my parents as possible, but this can be difficult with all our busy schedules. I have learned to appreciate my relationships with people because I know that my time with everyone around me is limited.

Author: D.R. (FCO Placement Student)