Alternative title: I’ve been expecting you …
I think I’ve been in denial, I’ve been trying to live as ‘normal’ a life as I can … Going to work, going to exercise classes, going for the 6am runs. Not really acknowledging the full extent of how my life has been irrevocably changed … How when my father passed away a gaping void suddenly opened up in my world that will never fully heal.
That was until I saw my counsellor … She opened the flood gates.
Everyone has asked me how my family are coping … My mum, my brother.
She was the first one to really ask how I was … And when she did, I felt the loss, the pain, the anger, all in one scrunched up ball. Crushed so tightly together that it was impossible to feel one without another. I’d held my emotions so close that releasing even a fraction of them was startling and terrifying.
But that’s the point of counselling isn’t it … To release them. To acknowledge them. To accept them … But that also means accepting that he is really gone. And I don’t want to accept that. I’m not sure how to accept that.
I was already feeling physically horrific after coming off my anti-depressant medication so I didn’t really notice the physical effects of grief as they started to take hold. I stopped eating, I stopping being able to drink water/tea/anything, I stopped sleeping, I stopped exercising, I stopped showering … I just stopped being able to function.
What I started to do (what I continue to do) was to just cry, to just feel the anguish … Usually I would stop myself from crying, as though I shouldn’t be allowing myself to experience it. As though stopping the tears would stop the hurt, but it didn’t, it just bottled it tighter and tighter until there was no more room for it all.
Yes I lost my dad … But I also lost my best friend. I lost the one person who I could count on at 3am to be there with a cup of sugary tea and a listening ear when my work life or love life was proving too much or I was in the midst of an Anxiety attack (dad had his own battles with Mental Health and was always the one who would understand … Who would make me feel less alone) or if we just couldn’t sleep and a “How It’s Made” marathon beckoned. I lost the one person whose sense of humour matched mine so closely that a mere glance or word (that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else) would trigger a laughing fit. There are so many in-jokes and “had to be there moments” that I can’t share with anyone else … Because they don’t make sense to anyone else.
I went back to work too soon (I should have let myself just be the blubbery mess I was afraid of being), I threw myself into my routines … Probably hoping that by doing so I could mask the pain I was in, that I could pretend that it was all a bad dream and that eventually he would just come back.
But he isn’t coming back.
I’ve had a bit of time recently to become acquainted with this stage of grief … The part where you know you’ve lost someone forever; you won’t ever be able to hug them, or hold their hand, or sing (very out of tune) lyrics to a pop song (don’t worry dad, I won’t say which one!), or put the world to rights with them while watching a crap documentary about pencils being made.
The crying is exhausting, but it’s cathartic too. I know I need to cry … And not stop myself. To just let it all out. Even if it is in the early hours (seriously, I find bawling at 4am to be quite amazing).
Everyone grieves differently … And everyone heals differently.
So yeah, sorry if I’ve been a little AWOL recently (on here and on Twitter) but there is quite a bit of healing that needs to happen here at LHB HQ. Please bear with me.
PS – If you (or someone you know) has been (or is being) affected by Cancer, then I can highly recommend Macmillan – they are amazing folks!
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