Realizing grief

Ok, I guess it was bound to happen. I finally cracked. After more than week of holding it together in order to get my mom through the shock of finding dad dead on the couch. Then add all the travel. Coming home and jumping right into work. I guess allowing myself, to distract myself to avoid the inevitable… I am going to grieve my father’s death.

Today I was on the phone with United Airlines re-arranging my next trip out so I can help my mom tie up loose ends and I lost it. I had been very busy with clients all day. I had a half hour to myself and thought I’d call the airlines. My “with clients” face was off, my guard down. Before I knew it I was yelling and crying on the phone with a stranger at United. I apologized after the incident. I told the agent that I appreciate her putting up with me and that I realized I needed to take a couple of days to grieve. She was kind and gave me permission to do so saying “Yes you should give yourself that, you need to grieve.”

My realization is that grief will come. I should allow myself to feel it. I need to process it. I will get better by going through it. I will become stronger because of it. It is ok to express it. I can say “No, I cannot do that for you right now.” It is ok to set boundaries in order for me to feel, heal and grow. I do not need to act as if everything is normal and peachy just 14 days after my father unexpectedly dies six months before the doctor said he would, just four weeks ago.

I can find blessings in this experience, but in order to find and appreciate those blessings, I must first grieve.

15 thoughts on “Realizing grief

  1. I empathize with you my friend. I recently lost a grandfather and uncle within two weeks. Everyone’s experience is different. What you are doing, putting words down, will hopefully bring you some catharsis. It’s also a sign of great strength to share what you are feeling. I know we’re perfect strangers, but if you ever need an ear, drop me a line.

  2. I have been following the train of thought on your dad, as I, too, am dealing with the loss of my mom less than a week ago…after having lost my dad unexpectedly in 2008. While we knew time was short, last Wednesday was a bad day, followed by worse day Thursday, where her breathing was shallow. By 5:30 that afternoon, my mom decided it was enough, and she took her last breath with my sister and I holding her hands. Perhaps by coincidence (?), on the 4th of July in 2008, it was just my mom, my sister and I who were with my dad when he did the same. Life imitating life. Death imitating death.

    Her service is across the country in a small town in northern Ontario, which I leave for tomorrow afternoon. Every summer for the last few, I have taken my mom back to Ontario sometime in July for the family tour, lasting a week, sometimes two. In the car (occasionally stopping to take in the scenery) we had time all to ourselves, where we laughed, expressed opinions (often disagreeing), discussed current events, her younger years, her life with dad, my general uncertainty and what was next for me. Since she was not feeling well enough to make the trip this year, having had a difficult time going back East with my sister in early June, we did pretty much the same every day when we talked, but this time it was at her house, in the hospital room and finally, the hospice.

    So, here we are. While I thought the opportunity had come and gone, in fact I am traveling this year with my mom, but this time I carry her ashes. I suppose this is the appropriate conclusion to our life together. Mother and son. She spent my lifetime caring for me, regardless of where I was or what I was doing, and now it’s my turn to take care of her, returning her to the place where she began her wonderful journey. It has been my privilege to have had her as my mom and I am a better man because of the love, affection and confidence she gave to me.

    While we may be strangers, in our grief we are kindred. Please do not feel isolated in this moment. If you ever feel the desire as David mentioned above, do not hesitate to reach out for a sympathetic ear.

    Offering my sincere condolences.

  3. Take it slowly and, when you want to, let it all out, F.B. Everyone with a heart will understand that you’ve got to come through it in whichever way is best for you.

  4. We all grieve different ways and at different times. My father has been gone a little over a year and I have yet to cry. My father’s death wasn’t as unexpected and I possibly had time to get into the mindset of his passing well before it happened. And there is the part that I’m not usually the crying type.

    I think of my father every day – even if just in a little thing, but that I didn’t cry doesn’t mean I don’t grieve of miss him. We all cope the way we do and whenever it happens. Embrace that.

  5. What everyone else said, but also keep in mind that now is a perfectly acceptable time to ask your PCP for a small prescription of one of the “lighter” benzodiazepines (Ativan comes to mind, but that is a decision best made between you and your PCP). One of them helped my mother immensely when her father died; to my recollection she only used it as needed for a couple of weeks and then never again.

  6. All quite true and sensible.
    When, how and where we greive is about as individual as fingerprints.
    The irony is we are so judgmental of other’s grief styles/schedules, judging others ‘they are not grieving right’ (meaning how I grieve).

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