Editorial: It’s okay not to be okay

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I’ve never been an outrightly emotional person. I was never one of those people who cried when they saw a video of a cute puppy and I certainly make it my mission in life to never let myself shed a tear over an adolescent boy who did me wrong.

I understand the ways of the world pretty well and things like losing a friend or even death are imminent, or at least that’s what I’ve always told myself. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a tough exterior, but rather, I just don’t let my emotions take control over me, especially in situations I cannot control.

However, that all changed this year. On March 18, one of the worst days of my life happened. I lost my last living grandparent, my mom’s mother who we called Nana.

Although we knew she wasn’t in perfect health, she was nowhere close to death, or at least that’s what we thought.

On March 14, my mom, sister and I went to go visit her in her hospital room in Oshawa. She was her regular, full of life self, cracking jokes and living her life to the fullest.

Four days later, she was gone. I’ve lost three grandparents before her, but this one has made me a disaster. I cry when I see old people. I cry when I hear people talking about their grandparents. I cry thinking about when she used to pick up the phone and say, “Hi Hayl!”

Now, I’ve realized it’s okay. Sure, I’ve cried a bit more than I would have liked in the last two months but it’s healthy. It’s okay to not always keep your emotions bottled up and hidden from the world because you want to give off a certain persona to those around you.

My life has turned upside down since the loss of my grandmother and people should know that. I’m not okay and I won’t be for a while eventually, I will be though.

This revelation doesn’t just come in the form of sadness though, it’s made me more in touch with all of my emotions.

When someone upsets me, I tell them. When someone says something that I think is endearing, I’ll let them know just how much it means to me.

If I love someone, I’m not going to wait to say something until it’s too late.

There’s a stigma attached to emotional people – that they’re weak or their feelings don’t mean as much because they always cry.

If I’ve learned one thing from my nana, it’s to live life to the fullest. I truly dance like nobody’s watching, sing at the top of my lungs, laugh at things that truly aren’t funny and take chances because the worst thing someone can say is “no.”

I’ve learned not to be afraid of the unknown and that it’s okay not to be okay.

I remember a few days after my Nana passed, I asked my mom if I would ever stop crying and she simply said, “One day.”

I truly don’t know if that day will ever come, but even if it doesn’t, I’m okay with it.

Crying won’t bring my nana back, it won’t make life easier, but hiding those emotions won’t either. Having a healthy relationship with my emotions has helped me cope with this loss better and has helped drastically improve my mental health – just taking life as it comes and its ups and downs day by day.

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