Grief: The Worst BFF In The History Of BFFs
I haven’t written in months. My dad died in September. If you’ve ever been on this journey you know it feels like five minutes ago, or at least I do. It feels like I just found out this second and instantaneously I began my free fall into the total blackness of outer space, known as Grief, and I’m still out there in the abyss. I have no idea when I’m coming back (whatever that means) and I really don’t have a desire to. Until then it looks Grief is my buddy, the gift that keeps giving. Pass the Kleenex.
The main reason I haven’t posted anything about this hideous journey is that I didn’t want to come off sounding like, “Woe is me, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the universe”. While I wish I could say I’m the only one who’s ever experienced this pain and all the involuntary behaviors that come with it; the the without-warning crying jags, the feeling of hopelessness and abject blackness in my soul, I know I’m not. I know there are thousands of people around the world, and maybe even hundreds of daddy’s-girls who know EXACTLY what I’m going through. So I didn’t want to come off like a whimpering princess. I AM a whimpering princess to be sure, I just didn’t have the nerve to announce it to the universe. Until now apparently.
Rather than go on about how I’ve been doing (you can just know that in general I kind of don’t want to be around anyone, unless I DO want to be around people. And I don’t really want to be alone, except then whenever I do want to be alone, and then I have crying jags, I beg my dad to come back at the very same time I thank God he’s not suffering and I’m thankful that he’s truly super happy where he is, and then I go back to sobbing. It’s quite sophisticated and classy). So rather than go into all THAT detail (you’re welcome by the way) I thought I’d just relate some of my observations about losing a loved one and the grief process in general.
- The people closest to the person (namely the family that’s nearby) can act REALLY weird when someone dies or the situation is dire (depending on how wonky your family is. And at times like this sometimes people surprise you, let me tell ya). Like showing up at the hospital, refusing to say a WORD to the person who’s hanging onto life by a thread and smugly gloating over their bedside. Yes, I saw you. You know who you are. Good luck with that.
- People can have expectations of the surviving family member(s) regarding what their demeanor should be or what they should be doing that far surpass what anybody can do emotionally, physically, psychologically, you name it. For instance it’s been 111 days and 18 hours (but who’s counting) and I’m still not really even back to cooking meals for my family. Macaroni & Cheese is somehow okay with me. I have no idea who I am anymore.
- My brain isn’t working. I’ve lost a couple of things, moderately important things that are going to be a hassle for me to replace and I have no idea how I did it, or how to recover the lost things. I think they’ve vanished into thin air.
- I’m procrastinating the “hard stuff” like nobody’s business. I’m pretty much the Procrastinating Queen, so sorry if I’ve dethroned any of you, but I can look at a pile of important paperwork all day and not do a thing about it. This is kind of worrisome and will probably complicate my life in the not so near future.
- Some days I’m not outwardly sad at all. I’m actually optimistic and in a pretty good mood (I’m trying really hard to always be pleasant even if it doesn’t seem like it). I feel like I’m splitting apart at the seams into two different people (don’t worry, there’s plenty of me to go around and my nickname in high school was Sybil).
- Grief crops up at weird, weird times. Like, it’s not bothering me right now as we have to move some of dad’s belongings to make room for our stuff (we’ve moved into his house), but then I’ll look at a dish I gave him when I was eight and I can replay the whole birthday scene in my head and it always ends in tears.
- On most days I’ve got myself pretty convinced he’s coming back. He’s just on a mission trip. No biggie. This worries me because there’s paperwork stuff I’m probably supposed to be doing, but I’m in la la land.
- I think he’s appearing to me in dreams. I’m carrying on conversations with him and I don’t want them to stop. I wonder if I’m losing my mind. I wonder if I should care. Right now I don’t care and that concerns me a little. I can totally get why some people go around the bend and just never come back. I’m looking at that bend longingly.
- We had a really nice Christmas here. We decorated the house, put up a rather beautiful tree, baked cookies and have been playing Christmas music non-stop for weeks. I was singularly focused on making sure the kids had a nice holiday and for the most part I have been truly happy. Except for when I’m not. I honestly don’t want my dad to suffer with the grave health issues he had, so of course I’m happy he’s not in pain anymore. And then I cry some more and feel guilty for not being miserable over Christmas. But I know for a fact he wouldn’t any of us to walk around all mopey and down. In fact he’d tell me to snap out of it and to stop feeling sorry for myself. So I don’t for the most part. And then I feel guilty for being happy over Christmas.
- I had no idea until all this happened how life changing and life giving it would be for people to reach out and say they were praying for me or thinking of me during this time. All of the good wishes and prayers have literally kept me afloat. Just knowing someone takes the two minutes to drop me a note to say they’re thinking of me bolsters my resolve for a few more hours. It’s amazing. We all need each other more than words can adequately describe and I will from here on out always try to be there for a friend.
- I’m amazed at how social media is cheering me up. Everybody rails against it as being faceless, shallow and how everyone is completely two faced in their postings. But checking in on my friends who have similar interests is doing a lot to keep me focused on positive things. It’s just so true that everyone out there is battling something. Social media is helping me not wallow.
- Grief is tricky. One minute I’m reasonably happy and optimistic and then the next minute I feel a crushing pressure on my chest and I can’t breathe.
- Life truly does go on. The sun came up the very next morning and it has every day since then. I have a tremendous number of things to be thankful for. God IS good. He IS seeing us through this, and certainly me. My job right now is to take care of my family and make sure they weather this season okay. And I want to be positive in someone else’s life too. I don’t want to be “Debbie Downer”, but I do want to be real. It’s very, very tricky and and I’m exhausted from it by the end of the day, but sleep eludes me.
- Despite all this, life is good. It really is. I have a lot to live for and much to be thankful for. Last week our daughter said she had a dream about building a plasma cutter (duh—isn’t that what all 15 year old girls dream about?) and so she built one. I see what you did there, Dad (insert big, hot ugly tears here). You did good. She is amazing and wonderful (she is, as she always been a mini you) and she is missing you far more than I can fathom. Please keep talking to her and encouraging her brilliance. You have always been her rudder. Now she needs you to be her wind.
- Posted in: children with disabilities