I was encouraged by a friend to begin this blog as I am walking through the loss of my father. My father passed away suddenly almost 4 months ago at the young age of 62. He was one of my best friends and I loved him dearly. The shock and sadness was overwhelming and at times still is. I remember my father losing his parents and how devastating it was for him and I do not think I could have fully understood until now. Words do not do losing a parent justice.
I have struggled with how much time to take, how to honor him and yet do daily life, what to do when the grief unexpectedly hits hard, how to explain his death to my daughter, how to support her grief and loss, how to explain my grief and loss to her, and how to keep the motivation to live despite this incredible loss.
I actually work with my clients to work through their grief and loss and I believe I have comforted many of them. Unfortunately it is so different when you are the one walking through it. I have had to remind myself that what I feel is normal and that there is no skipping the process ahead, despite my denial and anger. Also, despite those surrounding me who unhealthily state you just need to move on. I know I need to honor my loss and my father and consistently I have attempted to give myself that time and space.
The time of by father’s death is a blur of devastation, watching family and friends fall apart and come together to grieve and say goodbye. Honestly I was surprised at those who were the most comfort, and at those who could not emotionally be available due to how they were feeling. It is still this way in some respects as we shift in our own healing journeys.
I am so appreciative to all that sent their love and their prayers. I honestly needed all of it to survive and feel I had reasons to keep going. My daughter was very connected to her Papa. I decided to be real with her, but did not bring her for the funeral because I felt I was not able to be a mom and and grieving daughter during the service. Not sure on that decision, but I do feel that it worked for us both.
I spent quality time with my daughter explaining, in language she could understand, my father’s passing and that mommy is really sad, but will be okay. I cried and told her that crying because we are sad is normal and not to be worried if mommy is sad. She expressed her own sadness and we visited Papa’s house to say goodbye to him. I was impressed with my daughter’s ability to articulate her feelings and I felt safe to have my own. The trip was healing for us both.
My daughter talks to Papa on her play phone and voices when she is missing him. It is hard to hear at times, but I am glad she is able to work it through in her own way.
I reread “on grief and grieving” by Kubler-Ross to normalize the stages of grief and it did. However, normal does not equal feeling better, unfortunately. I also have a great meditation book “A time to grieve: meditations for healing after the death of a loved one”, by Carol Staudacher that I read when I feel I can spend time with my emotions.
I do not see myself “getting over” this loss, just being able to live better with the loss. I still fluctuate from denial to anger to sadness to some little spurts of acceptance. I miss him dearly everyday. I find I treasure family even more and that spending time with my daughter is healing. At moments, I put on his favorite jacket and can still feel him hugging me or hear him talking to me. Othertimes I am angry he left me and I feel the unfairness of it all, selfishly. Sometimes I am living life and feeling guilty for feeling happy when I feel I should still be honoring my the loss of my Dad.
I do feel all of it is healthy and normal. As I walk through it I feel for all the others that have traveled before me.