Alternative title: I’m going to be channeling my inner Kanye West for the rest of this post so … Yeah. Not sure if you need a warning for that or if you just want to see what the heck goes down.
Since losing my dad to cancer a lot of people have been offering advice as to how they dealt with their grief. Some of it has been amazing, supportive and invaluable pieces which I honestly have taken on board … This post is for the pieces that were, well, less than helpful. They are the throwaway comments that leave a lasting impression of “what the actual f-?”
Now this (unsolicited) ‘advice’ has ranged from “I totally would have taken a whole month off work, seriously, what the hell are you thinking? I’ve been through this so know what I’m talking about and you’re doing it wrong” to “you just don’t cry enough, why aren’t you crying all the time?” and even “you should have had a child you know, then he could have been a grandfather, why did you wait?! You took his chance away!” … Yes really. And in such situations I’m finding it real hard not to just channel my inner Kanye West (everyone has one of those right?) with a :
Imma let you finish BUT what works for you, doesn’t work for me! I didn’t want to take a month off work because, despite me hating life as an office monkey right now, sometimes you need a routine. There are only so many episodes of Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women I can watch without my eyes bleeding, plus sitting at home just makes me brood over things. Overthink everything. It leaves me a blubbering howling mess because I’m reminded of all things that we will now miss out on.
Imma let you finish BUT just because I don’t cry in the office or at the gym or while running 5k in a morning (which quite frankly is horrific enough without being unable to see due to bawling), doesn’t mean I’m not hurting. It doesn’t mean that I’m not grieving and it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t miss him. I do cry. But I cry when I’m around people I trust, or I cry when I’m in the shower, or I cry when trying to fall asleep … Or I cry when driving home because I’m listening to a song that reminds me of him. Just because I’m functioning doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about him.
Imma let you finish BUT, it’s MY body, MY rules! M and I haven’t been ready to start a family so to be asked why I haven’t had a child, while at my dad’s WAKE, is pretty disgusting. It’s all the more disgusting because I have a sibling, was he asked why he hadn’t produced a child yet? No. He wasn’t. I’m not a walking womb so step the (insert choice of swear word here) back! As if I didn’t feel shit enough with losing my dad so quickly without people thinking it’s their right to make me feel guilty for ‘taking away his chance of being a grandfather’. Yes I concede that he would have been an amazing grandfather, because he was an amazing father … But the idea that it’s considered ok to say something like that to a daughter whose whole world has just been ripped apart seems pretty messed up and insensitive.
Seriously folks – no two people will experience grief in the same way, because the relationship they had with the person they have lost will be unique to them. My dad was a source of love, comfort, advice and (a ton of) humour. I lost a best friend as well as all those things. And the way I deal with his absence in my life will be different to how others who have experienced something similar will deal with it.
I understand that the advice given may have been “from the right place” (arse or heart, you pick) but quite frankly, I’d settle for a “how are you coping?” over a cup of tea than a “this is how I dealt with it and it’ll work for you”.
Anyway, I’m going to hop off my soapbox now and put the kettle on. I think a brew is needed, don’t you?
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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