Monday, November 19, 2012
Grieving my Dad
It's been two years and seven months since I lost my Father. I still cry. I cried this morning. Thanksgiving is a difficult time, daddy loved this holiday. I don't have a family home, nor do I have much family left - that I feel particularly close to. I'm still somewhat close with my Mom, but after everything that transpired after my father's death - that relationship is, well what it is. I just no longer have a core family unit. Not that we had much of a core family. My brothers have always had animosity towards me. I was the only girl, my father's only child (my brothers were halves) and the baby of the family. I guess in their eyes, I've been a favorite - all my life. So the only real core that I've ever had was my Father. When I lost him, especially after taking care of him for eight years after the aneurism and stroke - was earth shattering.
I do not believe that grief comes in 'stages'. I just don't believe that it's that nicely packaged. Mine wasn't. I went into a shock and was nearly destroyed by it. I suppose it all depends upon how it happens and how quickly. It also depends upon how well the person is doing at the time of the loss. I was not doing so well, functioning wise - at the time of the loss. My head was just above water with depression and I had just had major back surgery. A life changing surgery - or it was supposed to be. I had a Medtronic Stimulator put in for pain relief. It was an extremely painful surgery and recovery. I had to lie on circulated ice for two weeks to prevent inflammation. Heavy duty drugs -- and I know that this upset my Father greatly - that he could not be there to help. He'd always taken care of me after surgery. He just simply was not able. He had seven grand maul seizures when I was less than two weeks out of surgery.
The hospital could not stop him from seizing. He was placed into a drug induced coma. He was gone in four days. My whole world as I'd known it, stopped. The man I adored my whole life, was gone.
What ensued from there was a living nightmare. Greed like I'd never seen it - hostility and pure unadulterated hatred. I was beaten over money, and my life was threatened. No one would listen to me. Authorities would not get involved in family matters. I felt more alone than I'd ever felt in my entire life. My own Mother betrayed me, and watched me be beaten by my brother. She "gifted" in a will everything that my father left me to my brother - who is not even my father's son - including the house that I'd grown up in. My Father's and my belongings were burned. It was as if I were watching someone else's life.
My Father was cremated - and arrangements were made, and I had little to do with any of it. MY FATHER. I knew exactly what my brothers were doing - and tried to tell my Mother. No one would hear me. I've never been heard in my family.
Once I got past this nightmare - I tried to grieve my Dad. I moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. I had to get away from all of it. I'm so glad I did.
Grief is a very personal process. It is very important to feel it as it comes. To not be ashamed of it. Society tells us that we're supposed to hide it, do it in private - and it is supposed to be finished when the funeral is over. Mine was far from over - and would hit me in waves. There were entire days that I would grieve. I had to learn how to live in this world without someone that I loved dearly - that had been a part of my entire life. My brain did not know how to do this, nor did my heart. The hardest part has been my feeling so lonely - and vulnerable in life. My Father was my greatest cheerleader. He was my confidante, my best friend. I had to somehow find a way to learn how to release the feelings that were present due to the tear in my soul. I would cry so hard sometimes I could not breathe. I wanted to scream and sometimes I did. I would curl up into the fetal position and just sob. I don't know if I've ever hurt so deeply, nor felt a pain so unending. It was relentless at times. I did not know if it would ever subside.
The pain has lessoned. I can talk about my Dad without crying. I can write without feeling that deep horrible ache. I can remember the not so great parts of him - because at first all you remember is the good. The mind has a way of doing this. It's a reorganization of sorts. Some people don't grieve. I don't understand this - or didn't until my Aunt passed this last summer. I still have not grieved her death. It seems I just can't. However, I was not with her often. My Father on the other hand, I spoke to almost daily.
If anyone reads this and wonders if your grief is normal.... chances are yes. Everyone of us does it differently. If your not avoiding it - it comes how it comes. Somedays it was huge waves, and other days it was more manageable. Somedays I wanted people around and others, I wanted to be alone. Just know that you have a right to do it how you need to do it. If you feel like your having a problem with it, seek help. Get some information - but don't buy the "stages" of grief junk. No two humans are alike and we don't follow a book. Is there good information out there on grief? Yes. I read some good things on sudden death, and loosing someone that means so much to you. All good information. Of course it's a process, everything in life is a process.
I miss my Dad a lot. Especially during his favorite holidays. However, I'm very grateful that I had the Father that I did - He was a great man. He was a great Dad. I'm also very grateful that I'm moved into the place where I can be grateful and not so torn to pieces. I cherish the times that we had, and don't agonize over them an only see them as losses. I feel good about that. This gives me hope. I've made it through this, and I never dreamed I would thinking back. I guess that is what we do as humans, we never think we'll make it when we're in the pain. Yet, somehow we do - and hopefully we use our experience to help others. I think that is what God put us here for - as mankind. Man-k-i-n-d. To be kind, loving and compassionate to each other through our ordeals. It's simple to do. Just smile, open a door - help your elders, be there for a friend. I think you'll be amazed at how good it makes you feel. It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving or Christmas to have a good spirit. We really can have it all year round if we but remember, the things we take for granted, someone, somewhere would love to have.