I thought I knew what grief felt like. When I was 9 I lost my Grandad (Dad’s dad), 2 weeks after that I lost my Nan (mum’s step-mum) and then 3 months after that my parents split up. I was very close to my Grandad, in my mind he was perfect and I think about him all the time. I always wonder how different my life would be if he was still around.
But the above grief is nothing like the grief I have felt over the last 7 weeks. The kind of grief that consumes you the moment you wake up, the grief that stops you sleeping at night, the grief that makes you randomly burst into tears when you’re brushing your teeth. I lost my Dad very suddenly at the beginning of March. I’m not quite ready to talk about the circumstances as I still wake up in a panic about them but it was very very sudden.
Ever since these events it’s felt like a cloud has been following me around. Not the type of cloud that on a sunny day makes you smile, a dark stormy unpleasant cloud. It follows me everywhere I go. This cloud is followed by deep deep sadness. Sadness that’ll I’ll never see the word “Dad” when my phone rings again. Sadness that I’ll never hear his voice again. Sadness that I’ll never get to experience one of our late night calls again. Sadness that I will never buy a Father’s Day card again. Sadness that I will never have his cooking again (he was a chef). Sadness that my children will never get to meet him. My sister has 2 children and he loved being a Grandad, my 8-year-old niece even said she was sad she’ll never get to cuddle her favourite Grandad again.
Had all this happened under normal circumstances I would’ve thrown myself into work, codebar, seeing family and friends, knowing me I’d pick up a new hobby. Essentially any activity to take my mind off it. And then in 6 months/a year it would hit me hard. But I can’t easily distract myself right now. I’m at home 24/7, forced to think about it. The isolation is forcing the grief as I have fewer distractions. Some days I wake up feeling ok, some days I wake up feeling like I can’t face the world. I’m telling myself that long term this approach is much healthier, but I have no idea. I can only hope.
The other day when closing down his bank account (yes he didn’t have a partner so me and my sister have to arrange everything), I was in the room discussing it with the bank person and I burst into tears. He asked if I wanted a tissue, I said I’m ok it’ll pass in a minute. After that one minute, I was ok and was talking to him without tears running down my face. This has basically been my life for the last 7 weeks.
Experts say you go through many stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I’ve read that these are linear and once one stage has passed you’re onto the next stage. I don’t quite believe that as I have honestly felt all these emotions in one day. Except for denial, I haven’t felt that at all.
With this grief comes a huge amount of gratitude. Gratitude that I loved someone enough to feel this amount of sadness that I’ll never see them again. Gratitude that I had a Dad who loved me and would do anything for me. Gratitude that no matter what, I got to spend 28 years on this earth with him.
I love you Dad and will miss you forever.