My Dad – someone who often was my whole world in my eyes – is the first person I’ve ever lost. This is my first experience of grief and I don’t know what to do.
Grief is obviously different for everyone. Some grieve lost dreams, the loss of babies before they got to be older, the loss of sons in prison because of the lives they missed out on living, the grief of losing someone in a murder, the grief of losing your parent, your sibling, your twin, your Grandparent, your friend, your mentor…it’s the same in some ways but then profoundly unique, too.
This my MY experience with grief since the passing away of my beloved Daddy:
I’ve found grief to be a dark cloud over me. It hovers over my head and tints all my days from their original bright colours to dark grey.
Grief lingers in dark corners and is a heavy weight on my heart.
Grief doesn’t follow rules of times to show up and times to go away. It does whatever it wants.
Sometimes I forget my Dad has died, you know. I just forget and for a few blissful moments in my day – maybe I’m typing a document at work, maybe I’m taking a sip of tea or savoring the flavour of a choc-chip cookie on my tongue…and I’ll get lost in that safe, happy moment where my Dad isn’t gone from this earth.
That’s when the freight train comes out of nowhere and plows into me at full force.
GRIEF IS SO PROFOUNDLY PAINFUL YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO SURVIVE IT.
And the tears prick my eyes and my heart aches.
Grief is an insidious bastard. It’s heavy and cold. It’s awful because it can arrive at any time and in any amount – like, it can be a little pang in my heart when I hear a song that my Dad used to love…or it can be floods of tears when I pick up my phone to call Dad and share a joke or a stupid thing with him and realise that suddenly now, I can’t.
This pain and sadness…this deep chasm of loss I feel has to be 1000 times worse for my Mom. She’s lost the love of her life and there must be so much around her that reminds her of Dad. My heart breaks for the pain Mom must be going through. Oh how I wish to remove it and give her only happy days and happy times.
For me, navigating grief is like trying to find your way out of a huge forest.
It’s hard! It’s scary. It’s full of questions. Where do I go? Which path do I take? Will I get home or am I making it worse and wandering further away into oblivion? Did I pass this section of the Forrest before or is it new? Am I making my way out or making my way worse? Am I more lost? Am I doing better or am I slowly dying? Wandering about in this horrible forrest of grief means that nothing feels secure. Things I thought I knew are now questionable – did I really know that? Or was it a false hope?
Grief means that nothing is familiar, safe or comfortable anymore. I find I’m constantly in a state of high alert/high anxiety, wishing for home…hoping to find a way out. Desperately wanting a rest…because Grief is exhausting. It is relentless. It doesn’t stop or cease for even a moment. The grief of losing someone you love very much offers no exit – just miles of unending pain and that horrible feeling that you lost something vital but just don’t know what it was or how to begin searching for it.
I absolutely hate it.
Grief – is like being lost at sea. The waves and currents push and pull. It’s cold. It gets dark, it’s SCARY AF because the waves can sometimes seem higher than a building and it’s terrifying because you can’t know what’s beneath the surface so if you’re like me – you guess the worst things; sharks circling hungrily. Sea Monsters bigger than buses waiting to gobble me up and crunch me between their gigantic teeth.
I read a beautiful blog post by a Christian lady who had lost her husband 4 years ago. It gave me hope in that she’s doing okay but it also broke my heart because she’s not grieving any less for her husband, she’s just found ways to accept and manage it. She says that grief for her is a constant companion. I think that’s something everyone who grieves can agree on – it doesn’t stop. It never goes away.
Grief doesn’t feel like a scar…it feels like a severed limb. I honestly feel like a part of my body was savagely cut off when my Dad died, you know. A part of me – something shiny, bright and true – died with Dad when he did. I keep looking for it. I keep trying to replace it. I keep trying to stuff the grief and the absolute loss down, down, down into the bottom of my feet and yet it rises up, up, up and spills out of my heart and down my cheeks.
Grief walks hand in hand with guilt. I feel guilty every time I laugh. I feel bad every time I feel ‘ok’ because I feel like I’m dishonoring my Dad and his life. I feel better when I’m crying because in my heart, I’m saying to myself “yes, this is right” and I feel uneasy when I sing a long to the radio, enjoy a good book or show or look forward to seeing a friend for a hot drink and a cake. I feel like it’s too soon to be happy. I feel like I should be miserable for at least a year.