Shirleen, grieved her grandmother’s passing while pregnant at 31 

It all happened abruptly. My grandmother fainted at work one day in March 2021 and when she did check-ups with the doctors, they found dark cancer spots on her X-Ray. The odds were not in her favour. Chemo was an option, but popo felt she had lived a long life already — she has 6 kids and 7 grandkids — so she chose not to go through with it. She wasn’t convinced that the procedure would work.   

At the very least, there was still some time left in her final moments, for her to plan her assets, and for me to say my goodbyes. As I was pregnant at that time, I felt very helpless. I wasn’t in the right condition to be part of popo’s caretaking, so my mum, aunt and sister-in-law took turns with the responsibilities.

But no matter how much you prepare, you’d still feel the pain eventually.

If I’m alone, I’d allow myself to cry. I’d allow myself to feel the sadness. Since I was pregnant, I struggled to refrain from it as it might not be good for the baby. I was only two months away from delivery. It was a huge dilemma. Sometimes, I threw myself into work.

On hindsight, I wished I would’ve taken the time off to focus 100% on her. Distracting myself using work wasn’t the right move. We should’ve been spending more time together. That’s why things might have been different if I’d known that such an app existed back then. It’d be helpful to have nudges and reminders to spend more time with popo in her final moments.

I didn’t actively seek help when it was time to plan for popo’s funeral, even though I was clueless about who I should be speaking to first. Was it the funeral director? Undertaker? Or casket service? It could be because of my character, I’m not the kind who would ask for help or lean on someone. I was in my own bubble. My husband was physically there as a shoulder to cry on, but I didn’t want to hear anything to the tune of ‘she’ll be in a better place’. It doesn’t help. I only needed to feel the full brunt of my emotions, and move on on my own. 

Luckily, we were able to turn to our relatives, and my grandfather’s niece fed us with a trove of information regarding funeral arrangements. The help from them was crucial in ensuring everything went smoothly. 

Not everyone may have immediate access to help or a support network; if there can be written resources, such as those on liveful, that people can easily read about and be aware of the logistical hurdles to clear, that would already make a difference. 

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