I'm so sorry for your loss, spockwhat. My first close relative I lost was my dad's dad. We weren't close at all but I was surprised by the impact of his death. In some ways it's worse when you aren't close to a family member who dies because you have unresolved issues that will never be solved and you lose any chance of becoming closer to them in the future. The only beneficial thing to get from it is if you have a living friend or relative you've grown apart from, you need to try to start finding your way back to each other before you lose that chance with them.
My mom died about 6 years ago and it still hurts. I feel like I became a different person after she died because her absence created such a hole in me, I couldn't go on being the person I used to be without her.
Writing a journal is a good way to let out all your emotions, frustrations, etc. so you can put things in perspective and figure out where you want to go from here.