"Losing someone close to you is always difficult. The loss of a best friend can be one of the most difficult experience you can have. When I lost mine, I had no idea how I would deal with the grief. The pain I felt was unlike anything I had ever felt before. I hope that by sharing my story, I can inspire others and help them recover from grief.
Growing up I always had lots of friends. An athlete, I was always on a field or in an arena somewhere. With each season came a different sport, a different team, and different teammates. One thing that was constant every game though, was that old man sitting in his New York Yankees coat watching from the sidelines.
My grandpa was always there, whether it was scorching hot, down pouring rain, or an arena so cold you couldn’t feel your toes; he was there. He was my best friend, from the time I was 2 years old until I left for college, I would see him every week. My first love has always been baseball. Growing up I would spend my summers watching Derek Jeter and the Yankees alongside my Grandpa in his living room.
He taught me so much as a boy; how to make an engine turn over, how to throw a curveball, and even how to throw a right hook when I was bullied in the sixth grade. While other kids idolize athletes and musicians, my grandpa was my hero, and still is today.
Eventually, though, their time comes and we lose people. Unfortunately for me, that time came in the spring of 2014. At the age of 82, my grandpa went to bed one night but didn’t wake up the next morning, he went peacefully in his sleep. Most likely smiling because the Yankees had won in extra innings that night.
This was the hardest news I’ve ever had to receive. I had recently returned home from school and was looking forward to some quality time catching up with him over a couple beers. This wasn’t the first time I had lost someone in life, but it was definitely the most difficult.
Dealing With Grief
In the time since this has happened, I’ve moved forward but it hasn’t been easy. While it seemed like others had moved on soon after the funeral, it took me quite some time. The first and most difficult part was accepting the reality of the loss. In the weeks after his funeral, I constantly found myself thinking I could make plans only to realize what had become so habitual was no longer possible. Eventually, you learn to move forward and realize that as upset as the situation makes you, the person is no longer here. As much as you would like, unfortunately, this is something you cannot change. Once I accepted this harsh reality, I was able to move forward.
The second stage of my grief was learning to process it. Everyone has their own way of coping with loss. For me, I found solace in driving my grandpa’s truck. As a part of his will, I received his prized Ford F150. A loyal man, he always drove a black F150, something he was extremely proud of. To me, when I would get upset thinking about him, I found comfort in just driving the truck and listening to Yankees games on the radio. Driving his truck and listening to his team gives me the feeling of still spending time with him; now it’s just in a different way.
Once I had learned how to process the grief, I was able to adjust to a life without my grandpa. While he may be gone now, I still have my ways to spend time with him. Instead of going to his house to watch a game with him, I now look forward to driving the truck and listening on the radio.
Recovering From Grief
The final part of how I learned to recover from the grief occurred this past summer. Something my grandpa had always dreamed of was visiting Yankee Stadium. His entire life, he had dreamed of going but unfortunately never did. I was able to honor that dream this past summer when I got to attend a game on the anniversary of his passing. By doing so, I felt a connection with him that I never had before. I believe this was because what had long been his dream had also been one of mine. Although we weren’t able to be there together, I made sure I wore his favorite Yankees coat so that a part of him was."