Updated: Jun 20
Wow. It has certainly been quite a while since I last posted! Life (as always) had gotten tremendously busy, and I was plunged into mountains of work and errands, where I had not even a minute to post something and not even a second to think about how I am doing (well, in terms of grief).
So, today I wanted to update you on how things are going and share with you moments from the past few months that really touched my heart. I hope that you will be able to relate to some things you read here today, and if not, maybe some comfort can be found in knowing that you are not alone in this wild ride called ‘grief’ (I mean… really? Could someone not produce a more appropriate name for it like ‘STEALTH’ ‘COLOSSUS’ EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER RIDE or something like that out of some theme park?).
Lately, I have wondered: am I even on a stage of grief? It feels like I am way off the map, actually scratch that—I’ve fallen right off the edge of the map and flowcharts and diagrams depicting grief and into some weird stage which I can only describe as ending up on some newly built, non-existent road after ignoring the GPS (and if you are wondering… yes. That really did happen once. During December in the middle of nowhere in PITCH DARKNESS). I do sometimes feel a pang of guilt for getting lost into the waves of life, forgetting to acknowledge my grief or think about Dad as much as I used to. In fact, I think the ‘stage’ I am on at the moment feels so odd because I have finally reached a place of peace and acceptance. Do not get me wrong, I still miss him enormously and I still feel the grips of sadness sometimes, but I feel like I’m in balance in a weird way, like I’m a chemical reaction that has reached a state of equilibrium (thank you Chemistry GCSE!). But to be fair, this has taken me nearly three years to reach this destination and I am sure that this will not be the final one.
I still wish I could hop on a train right now and open the door and see my dad sitting on the sofa with the cats, chatting away on the phone or cooking a delicious meal… But as much as I dream, I know that it is not a possibility. Coming face to face with reality is a large reason why I am in this state right now. Talking about Dad with family has helped massively in trying to understand, wholly, who he was. Even though I know that he is the most amazing dad I could have ever asked for, I still wanted to understand the aspects to him I did not know. Some of these stories were funny, upsetting, confusing… just a whole array of emotions. Despite feeling overwhelmed and at battle with my perception of him after, I came to accept who he was and who he is in my mind, and that is when I grasped some acceptance with his death.
Another thing that helped me was realising the sheer beauty of life. I definitely romanticise my outlook on life most of the time, but there is no denying that there is so much beauty in the world. Now, I do not claim to be an expert, but Buddhism really inspired me. It made me realise that life is hard, it will throw rocks at you, it will bring sorrow and sadness, nevertheless, these things shouldn’t define you. It showed me that to be alive is a blessing and there is certainly so much goodness in the world too, not to say that your grief and sadness should be ignored, but it taught me to understand the world and accept that I can feel both at the same time without any guilt. This on its own brought me a great feeling of calm.
If there is one book that I could recommend to you, it would be Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. As cliché as this will sound… this book really changed me. It sparked a light within me that was not there before, opening my eyes to the fundamentals of the world. Siddhartha is not some book about a perfect holy person who reaches a god-like status. It is about someone who is very human, wise, but human. He makes mistakes, experiences loss, feels hunger, feels a desire for things… Above all, it helped me understand the world, and what really matters.
This month, I came to realise what wonderful friends I have. It really warms my heart when my friend (let’s call her Serena) always checks up on me. She asks me: “are you okay? How are you really doing and feeling?”. She shifts tone and asks it in a way that we both know what she is talking about. When I first lost my dad, I felt alone in the depths of grief. It was this awkward topic that people didn’t even want to mention, in anticipation of the chance that I might just melodramatically faceplant to the floor crying like something out of a dramatic Shakespearean tragedy. I also do understand that. They are trying to be sensitive. But Serena shows me sensitivity when she genuinely wants to know how I’m coping, and that makes all the difference. So, to all the friends out there with grieving pals: ASK IF THEY WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!
The other day, we were talking about parents.
I KNOW… Tough for others, right?
When I made a joke about my dad, expecting an awkward silence to envelope the space between us, ‘Katie’ laughed along with me. She told me how happy she was that I can talk about my dad like that, bring him up in small conversations, randomly find a way to link things back to him (like blaming his genes for the hefty price I pay for leg razors every month… ughh the pain). Sweet moments like this make me so happy. I want to be able to talk about him without making other people uncomfortable, because I should be able to talk about my parent, which will also allow me to feel at peace.