Welcome To The Grief Club

Death is not a dress rehearsal. Death is final.
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The club has a new member. They were handed their membership card just like the rest of us. We don’t recruit for this club, we just sort of gravitate towards one another. No one wants a membership card, but many of us need one another to validate our roller coaster of emotions. The saying “misery loves company” holds some truth with our club. I reluctantly became a member on January 17, 2016. The only prerequisite to join the club is that you lost someone who is precious to you.

I tried my best to avoid joining the club, but it found me. Don’t get me wrong, the members are really nice people, but I never asked for my membership. Membership is sort of like a rite of passage.

The degree of grief varies with the type of loss. When someone you love dearly dies the pain is agonizing. Anyone who has been given membership to this club knows the value of their own life as well as the value of our loved ones lives.

The journey is difficult regardless of the type of loss. Perhaps it came as a shock, it may have been expected, regardless of your circumstances the pain is agonizing and will bring you to your knees at times. I find myself writing to describe my pain, yet I can’t seem to find the right words.

At times you will feel isolated among friends and family. You will feel so lonely that you will become paralyzed with fear. You will evolve as a person – you will never be the same. The club will provide comfort in finding others that are understanding of your emotions, that are experiencing similar agony and the raw emotions of grief.

Death is not a dress rehearsal.

Death is final.

I share my father’s DNA, I watched him suffer for 7 years. If I stare at my reflection long enough in the mirror, at times I can see my father’s eyes. Through my father’s eyes I can see kindness and love. I am my father’s daughter, I am his living, breathing legacy.

A piece of my heart left with him the day he took his last breath. Since his passing I sometimes catch myself randomly telling people, “My dad is dead” for no other reason than to say it. It seems so surreal that I find myself thinking if I say it out loud maybe my brain can comprehend what is happening. But I usually end up looking like I’m either attention starved or just don’t know when to shut up.

I find myself wearing a mask most of the time. No, I’m not ok, my dad is only dead four months. I have only just begun this horrific journey, my club membership has only been active for four months! But many times I tell people I’m wonderful. It’s easier that way, because if you’re honest most people cringe, but not when I’m speaking to a fellow club member. It’s comforting to be around people who love me for me and allow me to remove my mask.

Life moves on regardless if we want it to or not. My dad is dead, I have become a member of an exclusive club, a secret society. Part of me is grateful for the other members of this club for it is with them I am able to truly grieve and remove my mask.

This article was originally published on: The Grief Toolbox

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 strongertogether@huffingtonpost.com.