Last week marked six months since my Dad died, but it feels like it was both years ago and just yesterday. Time becomes an entirely new entity when you're trying to occupy each minute that passes with the intent to make every second more valuable. I can't imagine this will feel any better in months or years from now, or that it won't ever stop feeling like it was yesterday. I had a dream last night that he was still alive. I've had many, many dreams like that since November 19th. I've been told it means that he's visiting. I grasp onto believing that's true.
I imagine most of us do that with the ones we love. The most startling part of waking up from those dreams is Dad's obituary and prayer card solidifying it was just a dream. The loss of my father has inherently become a catalyst for expression- I've never been good with silence, and silence has never been good for my health. We're subconsciously taught to remain subdued on the topics of death, loss, and pain, yet we all lose somebody in our lives that we- despite our mortality- never thought we would lose. We end up suspended in this new reality without them and it sucks, but that's where we relate. Stillness is necessary but when we need to speak and be heard, you don't make a better door than a window even when you don't know what to say.
I wouldn't wish this magnitude of loss upon anyone and I hope nobody has to go through this. Unfortunately wishing and hoping isn't an effective antidote for death; we all have to go through this insufferable pain of losing somebody we love. How do we prepare? How do we cope? How do we understand it? There isn't a right answer for any of the above. There's no class for it. We don't learn about it in school. We don't talk about death at the dinner table.
We're programmed to enjoy life without thinking about dying. Until somebody we love dies and our entire premise of hope is tossed into the mud.
I never know what each day is going to be like. I am never ready for distinct and unavoidable reminders of my Dad's passing but I am always welcome to them. I'm not sure if I'm mostly sad, or angry, but either way it's occupying. I always think, "what would my Dad do?" when I'm uncertain. It guides me to being patient, and humble, and continues to lead me in the right direction, as he always has, with assurance that I'm doing my best decision making- even though I'm not the best at making decisions.
I've been absurdly distracted lately by most everything around me. My ability to focus has plummeted horribly low, I've become preoccupied with irrelevant things and fill my time procrastinating. I'm grieving more apparently than before, and I'm trying to catch a glimpse of anything that brings me closer to these feelings and acceptance of this new world I'm living in so I can touch the ground. I often feel lost for words when trying to respond appropriately to "how I'm doing," because I don't know the answer. I am moving forward, but I'm also frustrated by my recent floundering in getting myself back together. I admittedly became very used to a constant sense of anxiety and unpredictability- not knowing from the moment I wake up what would happen within the next twelve hours. This has transferred over into my emotional state- I don't know when something seemingly insignificant will topple me over with heavy familiarity of my life before November.
I don't want to lose sight of my pathway when the fog rolls in but sometimes it's too thick for me. The great thing about fog, though, is that it always clears. I guess that's a start.
This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn't make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let's talk about living with loss. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.