IT Happened Again...
November was a rough month in my world. On November 14th, after a two year illness, my Dad died. He had pulmonary fibrosis.
Over the past two years, I have been mentally drafting a blog post called: When It Happens Again.
IT being death and emotional trauma.
I remember feeling such protest as I was considering the fact that IT could (would) happen again. A deep revolt and fear around knowing what grief is like, and not wanting to go down that path again.
This mental blog post I had drafted was going to be a piece around how I would cope with grief the next time 'round, based on everything I had experience and learnt since the first time 'round.
I never did write that post.
I kind of wish that I had - then I could refer back to it as a little pep talk for myself.
Now that IT has happened, all the best laid plans I had mentally made, have dissolved into the cocoon of shock.
I'm steeped with numbness and shock that has dulled the realities of my outer and inner world.
My mind isn't working as quickly. I'm forgetful. I start 16 different tasks in a day and don't complete any of them. I didn't brush my hair or my teeth today and I have nothing to show for how busy I felt.
I don't feel the protest the way I thought I would. That must have burned itself out during my dad's illness as I watched him slowly (and then quickly) decline.
My anxiety is gone. I was paralyzed before his death about what was going to happen. Now it's happened and I've been relieved of that worry. That lack feels numb too.
And yet, the world says speed up when everything within my body and mind says slow down. I feel this tug of war in my gut and my chest and I dread having to navigate it; It takes so much extra energy.
I know the numbness and shock serves a purpose. The heart can't feel the full reality of the loss at once. It is not worth forcing myself out of this cocooned place.
My wise body/mind/spirit will naturally dose itself with the pain and the reality of the loss, in it's own time. My conscious mind may not be privy to this timeline.
So, what do I do?
I start right where I am.
Be gentle with myself.
I've noticed more intrusive thoughts in the past few days around the circumstances of his death. This too, I know is normal. Instinctual even. There is a natural tendency to go over it all, again and again. Cognitively trying to make sense of it.
While *the world* wants me to get on with living, and get back to life, I know that pausing, even going backwards into the past is important grief work. It makes the unreal real, and is an important part of processing the reality of the death.
I've found myself gently approaching the pain and reality a couple of nights ago. I drove by the hospital and looked up to the window that was his room. It made my chest ache. I want to live-backwards. I want to spend some time reviewing what-the-hell-just-happened.
I'll probably write it out. Get those thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I may even walk from where I would park my car, to the unit he was on, just to remember and feel it when I'm ready to.
But, who knows! Grief is unpredictable, and living-in-the-moment for me at this time means responding to whatever need arises, when it does.
It's all vital work. Grief work. Mourning work.
I do know that this time 'round I am part of (and can rely on) a community of people who "get it" to support me and I feel all those people in my cocoon with me.
This time 'round, I'm more open to receiving care and being cared for. That feels really nice.
Thank you. To those near and far, known to me and unknown. The grief warriors that live this every day.
We are not alone.
12/1/2019 08:24:06 pm
I don’t think you can ever be prepared for the aftermath of a death of a loved - whether it was expected and known or not; I just don’t think our culture is equipped to deal with the disappearance of someone from our life...and the ‘foreverness’ of it.
9/8/2021 06:54:27 am
I totally agree Kelly - we are not equipped to understand the finality of death...and yet we still live on, somehow. Thank you for your words and ongoing support <3
12/2/2019 08:45:04 pm
Thinking of you my friend. Inspired at your authenticity and your ability to articulate and share your journey in service to others even as you navigate the tender spots.
9/8/2021 06:55:40 am
Thank you Shelley. I suppose it's become a wee bit of a legacy to these losses to share. I'm so glad that it may (hopefully) help others too.
12/3/2019 07:30:07 am
Same here, mental blog and all. For me it’s been a little over a year, I call it “the year in between”. Just a few months into rebuilding my life, I can do this, I can be whole again.
9/8/2021 06:57:35 am
2/17/2020 02:13:52 pm
read your December blog with tear filled eyes and my broke open heart -poured out my soul and lost everything!
9/8/2021 07:01:09 am
Oh, Rose your words are so beautiful and powerful. I"m sorry that my reply to your comment is two years after you posted it. I didn't get notification of it...just seeing it now. I so appreciate your reflections of the grief you've experienced and how your Dad's life has shaped it...and shaped your way forward as well. You capture the complexities of the extremes of grief - feeling like two ends of the spectrum simultaneously! At its core - death and life. Thank you for sharing and for your support over all these years, in OT and grief life. Sending you ongoing blessings in this navigation of the murkiness of life <3
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