Grief is a Process

Healing the loss of a loved one is no easy task. Bear with me as I try to find good in the grief process.

I’ve got major writer’s block this week. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get my words to make sense. My dad passed away suddenly last week so time has kind of stopped for me. I’ve been going through the motions in a numb state, waking up when someone asks me how I am or tells me they are sorry for my loss.

I thought I could write about him but it feels too personal right now. I can’t seem to keep my writing on one topic either. I was going to write about something going on at school but then I started writing about digital photos, then switched to how the holidays are coming so quickly, and then, to my dislike for Christmas decorations in October. Then I got hungry and thought I should write about pasta.

So, as you can see, I can’t keep one thought in my brain for very long. I have literally walked around in circles in my house because I forgot what I was doing. Apparently, this foggy thinking is all part of the grief process.

My mom passed away six years ago but her death was very different. She was sick and we were prepared. Don’t get me wrong, it was the most heart-wrenching experience of my life but I was ready for it. I knew she died peacefully surrounded by loved ones and that helped me make my own peace with her passing.

My dad left us without warning. There were no goodbyes, no peaceful experiences surrounded by loved ones. It actually stings when I think about it, if you can understand that.

The past week and a half has been spent taking care of the details. For some reason, my foggy mind lifted to take care of business. I had a list and I crossed off items when I took care of them. Now, getting back to regular daily activities, that’s the hard part. I have to get used to an entirely new normal.

I am lucky. My husband has been supportive and my kids have been amazing. They are so young but so thoughtful. I have many friends and family members who have reached out in kindness, making me soup, watching my kids, sending me cookies, calling to talk. My sister and I have bonded in yet another way so that is something good that has come out of this. Now, it’s time for me to try and move on.

Moving on is difficult when someone dies, and surreal when it is someone who has been there your whole life. Parents are the first people we rely on as children, for them to be gone feels unnatural. I have to remember that I was blessed to have them with me as long as I did; I know for many that is not the case.

If you are lucky enough to have your parents with you, take advantage of that time, let them know how you feel. I don’t mean to be preachy but you can’t get it back and that is not easy to deal with. Forgive, forget, and love them for who they are.

We spend our childhood thinking our parents are perfect, then our teen years and adult years blaming them because they weren’t perfect. Being a parent puts it in perspective. We all do the best we can with what we’re given, that’s all we can do. Nobody is perfect. Don’t waste time wishing they were. It isn’t worth it.

I wish with all of my heart that I could say I didn’t waste any time but I can’t. Now, I have to deal with that and move on. Death is part of life and all I can do is accept and make peace with what's left, the good and the bad.

Grief is a good process and I have to let it do its thing.

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." - Thomas Campbell

John October 22, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Hello Janet, yes, I agree with U 100%, I know how U feel, I lost my wife to breast cancer 2 years ago and its the hardest thing to deal with....dealing with the passing away of a relative is hard and they say time heals but here I sit and wonder if thats going to happen....I hope things get easier for U, good luck John
Ric October 22, 2012 at 08:31 PM
First, let me extend my condolences to you and your loved ones for your sad loss. Losing a parent or both parents is a heart retching experience. My mother died after a long illness. My father passed away after a short illness. There is no such thing as a better way to die. And I hope death does not come soon to anyone else away from me. The deaths of both parents left me feeling I had not said all that I needed to say or do but I find comfort in keeping my memories of them with me. That helped me get through the first days after.
Amy October 23, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Janet...so sorry for your loss and may you find comfort in all the memories you have of him.
Laurie October 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM
So sorry, Janet.
betsy smith December 26, 2012 at 11:56 PM
hi amy its aunt betsy. ive wanted to call but dont have your cell phone number. if you feel like sharing your number with me id love to keep in touch.


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