Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Grief Writing - 10 Months On

It's so crazy to think that we're already in a New Year. I type '10 months on', but it really still feels like yesterday.. or feels like it never happened (in the sense of 'can't believe it's real'). 

I've said this before but sometimes it's hard for me to gather my thoughts when I'm sat here writing. I usually can string together everything I'm thinking or feeling when I'm walking, or falling asleep (typical). I want to keep up with sharing this every month until it's been twelve, it's been important for me to try to document this first year since I started writing but today I just don't feel able to piece everything together in my mind in order to create an honest post, and I guess that's honest in itself. I have so so many thoughts in my mind all the time, but sometimes I think they're better staying in there.

I really do view the New Year as an opportunity to make myself and my Dad proud and that's what I will do. It's five days into the New Year and whilst I do have so much motivation and drive right now, it's so so hard when it's accompanied by my grief and sadness. I forget what it's like not to have a broken heart every day. I feel like this is my 'new normal', living with grief and trying to manage it whilst living whatever a normal life is. 

I would love to be able to talk to lots more people in similar situations to me but I completely understand that not everyone is able to talk about such painful things. That's something I've thought of a lot recently.

My 'grief writing' is pretty awful this month so I'm not even going to share this post anywhere, but if anyone is reading who's going through a similar thing I hope this helps you feel less alone and please reach out if you want to talk.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Nine Months On & National Grief Awareness Week

I decided to start writing this post a little earlier than nine months to the day, it's the 29th November and it's been a really really tough month. To be honest I would say this has been the most painful month I've experienced so far in terms of grief. There is a chance that being in lockdown has made things harder to cope with in terms of finding 'coping mechanisms', but the bottom line is I just miss my Dad so, so much. 

Okay, we're back to 5th December now, today is nine months since losing my Dad. I really wanted to write something back when I started this post on the 29th but recently I find it hard to put 'pen to paper' if that makes sense. What I wrote 6 days ago is essentially what I want to write now anyway. It's been so much harder recently, almost like the shock is fading and it's hitting me right in the face that my Dad is gone. The fact that Christmas is around the corner also adds to the pain as I wander around the shops seeing gifts that I wish I could buy him, cards I want to write for him and the list goes on. I've been loving seeing the robins recently, I've seen quite a few big beautiful robins that always appear when I need them the most. I tell them not to move if they're my Dad and they stay still, just long enough for me to take a photo!

This week is National Grief Awareness week and I knew about this for months and really wanted to write something in detail about grief to raise awareness, in particular anticipatory grief, but I decided to leave that for another time as I have some photos I want to share alongside that piece that I'm not ready to talk about yet. I have written out some 'tips' and 'advice' which I'll add to this post too. I don't know everything and things are definitely different for everybody, but there are a lot of similarities too so I hope these are helpful.


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Eight Months On

I'm so grateful that this has been a very long month. As much as we all just want these rubbish covid times to pass, for me, I hate being further away from the last time I was with my Dad. Every single month has flown by and it's frightened me. October has been a month full of anticipation for the festivities ahead, (well, maybe not now!) and also a month full of sadness that I won't be sharing these moments with my Dad. A real 'joy and grief' co-existing month.

As the festive period begins I'm overwhelmed with the joy I feel for Christmas, the food, the lights, the decorations, the films, the music, I absolutely adore the music. I may have mentioned in my last post, maybe not, but straight away after losing Dad I said 'There's no way I can celebrate Christmas, no trees, no lights, no music, no NOTHING'. But over the last month or so I've fully changed my mind and I have gone full force into Christmas mode like NEVER before. I want it all, the lights, the music, the decorations, all of it. The reason is that it makes me feel SO close to Dad and my happiest memories, it makes me feel like I've gone back in time and that's the best gift I could give to myself. I see my Dad in the music, I see my Dad in the frosty winter air when the sky is blue and the sun is beaming. I see my Dad in the beautiful lights and the wacky decorations. I see my Dad in every childhood Christmas movie. I could never give up all of this because I'd be giving up my precious memories of him.

Everybody has their own ways of coping with grief and this is one I never expected for myself, but it's truly carrying me through one of the most painful times of the year. Yes, there are tears, my God there is tears whilst I'm singing, tears whilst I'm browsing the shops, but there is so much love and joy there too and I'm trying to choose the joy and hold it tight when I can, and cry when I need to.

Today, I sat in the same spot where I was when I found out my Dad had passed away and I looked down the corridor, imagining seeing him there like I usually would and said out loud 'Eight months, it's been eight months? Wow, that's too long to not have seen you'. I cried, my cat ran off and left me alone and I continued to plough through old photos of him. I guess there's nothing I can do about time passing by, but I will do everything to carry my Dad with me so he's never too far and time won't mean a thing.

I love you so much Dad, I sob every time I write these and secretly hope you're over my shoulder reading it with me and feeling it too. I miss you more and more and more and more and I'll never stop. ❤️️


Monday, October 5, 2020

Seven Months On..

Today is seven months since we lost my Dad and yesterday I wrote a whole post, emptying every thought and feeling as much as I possibly could. I felt vulnerable and it actually made me feel uncomfortable. I deleted everything I wrote because even though I fully stand behind being open with grief and find it therapeutic, it just felt too raw and messy to put out there this month.

I've written something a little shorter instead, (but actually more therapeutic 
for me).

This time last year Dad was recovering from sepsis. It was the first time he'd almost lost his life to the dangers of cancer and it really brought home the painful truth that he wouldn't be with us forever, and probably not for as long as I'd thought. His life became even more precious, the conversations I had with him made me feel like the luckiest daughter in the world. The warmth in his voice at the other end of the phone whilst I told him what I was buying in Morrisons, I only ever felt whole when I spoke to him. Of course, I really started to feel the deep sadness of anticipatory grief, but I only have fond memories of last autumn/winter. I can hear his voice in my head like he's still talking to me, his happy laugh, his silly voices, his Dad jokes, but not just any Dad jokes, my Dad's jokes. I'm trying hard to bring autumn alive in our home this year as it brings me the comforts of those memories. Doing things that remind me of Dad and memories with him brings me so much warmth inside, it's something that makes me realise that joy and grief can co-exist.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Six Months On

It feels like a very long month between now and my last post. So much has happened since then, it’s been my birthday, my first one without my Dad, I’ve returned to work (although in a completely new place and with a lot of new people) and I’ve also gone on my first holiday, (which I’m currently on when I’m writing this). It’s been six months since losing my Dad and I was very much dreading this time frame as it feels so long yet it’s still so fresh, it just happened. Six months feels like a long time to be doing life without my Dad. 

I’ve gone from being able to openly respond to ‘how are you?’ to no longer being able to. Besides my very open blog posts, I just can’t answer generic questions with deep answers anymore. I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall and it makes me feel worse than if I kept things to myself. But, I will be open in this post with how I feel about everything and maybe other people going through the same thing can relate and feel less alone when it can feel (and usually does feel) extremely lonely. 

I feel like I’ve gone back quite a few paces recently. I wouldn’t say I’m in ‘denial’ as such but I do feel like I don’t believe that it’s happened, and I do feel this big pang of shock in my chest if something really brings it home and makes it real. I’ve also being getting so many big grief waves and they literally rip the ground from beneath me. I could be just sat watching a video, icing a cupcake or stirring some chicken and suddenly ill burst into tears and it’ll feel like they’ll never stop. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if my Dad knocked on the door and said sorry he had to go away for so long but he’s back and would give us a big hug.. I don’t know why I do it to myself but I have such a good imagination I can make it feel real for a moment, (of course then I feel incredibly upset after). Sometimes I see people who look like him or dress like him or walk like him and I just imagine it’s him for a second and that he’s walking by me.

I only really get to talk about him to my mum, brother and partner now as I think my timeframe for sharing with others has expired and nobody really asks me anyway. The good thing is that me and my mum talk about him a lot, every single day, and we talk about everything. We share memories, we talk about his cancer, we talk about when he passed, we talk about things he’s told both of us, I’m very lucky in that respect because I’ve read so much about people not being able to talk to their surviving parent about their parent who’s passed away and I would find that very challenging. 

I do get why people close off though, I had a conversation recently that included talking about my Dads passing and it was so frank that it actually made me feel ill. It was as if it was somebody’s hamster that had died, not my Dad. I feel really uncomfortable that there’s a chance that could happen again and that’s made me question being as open as I am because I feel like I let that happen by being willing to let his passing be talked about on anything other than my terms. 

I realise (and I’m sure every single person who I’ve seen in the last month would agree), I come across like I’m doing really really well. I resent that a lot, I’m not saying I want to look like I’m completely miserable but some balance wouldn’t go a miss!! I feel like it does my love for my Dad and longing for him a massive injustice by hiding it but I can’t help it, I can only cry and be upset alone which I find odd. I found this recently which I’ll post below as it sums up a part of how I feel/a possible misconception very well. I had my birthday in August and all I’d asked for for this year was to celebrate it with my Dad. This was before I even knew he may pass away in 2020, I simply just wanted to spend it with him. Of course, that didn’t happen and very kindly the majorly of my family came together to spend it with me. Even though I ‘celebrated’, nobody saw me spend the morning crying, the night before crying and going home and crying. I posted the photo at the top of this post because I can’t add it properly whilst posting this from my phone, but I’m sure many of you in a similar position can relate. 

I’ve actually wrote this whilst on a train in Italy, it’s probably very long and all over the place as I’ve kind of written it point by point as it comes into my head, but it’s helpful for me to offload. I’m a weird space with things at the moment, I wish I could understand and have some kind of rhythm with my feelings but it’s just not like that, all I can do is somehow keep going and not expect the world from myself, or let others expect much from me whilst going through the most difficult time of my life. 


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Five Months On

This past month has been full of firsts. First after first after first and for someone who really doesn't like change, I've been thrust into a hell of a lot of it. My last post 'four months on' had me sharing the depths of my grief and how it's seemed to manifest as depression. I worried where I would be 'five months on' and how I would get through this past month. 

In the last month, I have left the country for three weeks, I've attended my first wedding since losing my Dad (personally a big deal for me as I'm grieving those memories I will never share with him), I've gone back to the gym for the first time, I've visited my home for the first time along with all the firsts that come with lockdown easing too.

Being away from the UK brought me a lot of anxiety, not because of coronavirus but because I still don't feel ready to 'enjoy myself' or integrate with people as normal, so I did feel isolated in my grief for a period of time. On the positive side, it was actually nice to be mildly distracted from my reality as whilst I was away as I had no reason to believe my Dad wasn't still here. It probably doesn't sound great but it really helped me manage for that period of time. 

It's strange to only visit my home for the first time in five months after losing my Dad, and I have done so very quietly. I've really needed some time to just be in my house and be with my family. Five months later and I'm encountering a lot of 'firsts' that come with being home. The night I got home, I went to the fridge and noticed my Dad's slippers by the back door where they've always been, as if he'd never gone away. I noticed his glasses on his bedside table and I noticed his favourite mustards in our fridge, right where they belong. I sat down to get my pyjamas out of my drawer and was hit with the gut-wrenching memory of finding out that my Dad had died, as that's exactly where I was. I've found myself with my head in his wardrobe trying to smell 'Dad', although I think everything is clean now but seeing his shirts just took me back to each and every memory of him. Seeing his coat on the coat rack sends me right back into his arms. He'd get out of the car when he'd come to see me and would give me a big Dad hug and I'd be swallowed by his arms and by the huge huge coat.

There's been a few difficulties that I really need my Dad's help/advice with, and trying to deal with all of it predominantly by myself is challenging but I'm trying my best, and asking myself 'what would Dad do?' has become the new norm. 

As for me right now, I'm not feeling quite as hopeless as I did in the month before (although I probably have every reason to feel like that!). I think I was extremely anxious about leaving the country and that anxiety coupled with everything else put me in a really dark place. My head is slightly clearer now in the sense that I'm not beating myself up over small things. I'm actually feeling quite numb, but when my emotions are triggered I really have a lot to let out. I'll be honest, other than this blog once a month, I'm starting to feel I shouldn't be bringing my Dad or my grief up because I feel it's forgotten about.

When you lose someone you love with every ounce of your soul, the person you've never lived a moment without, you never forget. I can never be 'reminded' because I never stop thinking about him. I look for him in every feather, every butterfly, every robin and every shining sun. I even look for him when I hear the slightest creak in the floorboard or feel a gust of wind through the window. 

Five months on and I don't know how I got here but I did, and it's with your love and spirit that I'll keep trying Dad ❤️


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Four Months On.. How Things Really Are

It's strange to see my blog once full of beauty, travel and other light-hearted content, quickly become a dumping ground for my thoughts that I feel are difficult to put into words spoken out loud. I mean, I wish it wasn't this way, but given that it is, I'm glad I have a space I can put these thoughts into words and sentences. I know that other people in similar situations as me also relate and find these blogs helpful, which is great!

It's been four months since my Dad passed away, I haven't read back on my 'three months on' post, but I can only guess it was slightly lighter-hearted than this one will be. I wrote a post recently on mental health awareness and the importance of speaking up and reaching out, however, I've soon become the biggest hypocrite when I don't want to reach out myself. I've been struggling so much more recently with my loss, more than I think is manageable. I'm yet to integrate back into 'normal' life due to lockdown and four months down the line, I'm not sure I'm even ready to. It makes me really upset (crying as typing) to think about life returning to 'normal' when I'm just not ready. I cry every day, multiple times a day and in public too, my tears have no boundaries, I cried buying yoghurt last week! I have so much empathy and respect for people who have lost a parent and still go on.

I saw this post (above) recently and found it so relatable. I was fairly honest with most people when talking about my grief in the very very start, but as time goes on I just wonder how irritating it is to constantly hear the same thing, so I try to break it down and make it a little bit more bearable for the receiver. I just think it can be so hard to be upfront with grief or feelings in general because how somebody responds can have a further impact on those feelings. I'll be very honest and I don't really admit this to anybody but internally, I can get very easily offended when it comes to how someone responds to my grieving. I don't know why that is but I'm extremely protective over my grief and extremely sure of my feelings. I already know that's a fault on my end! (Although I have seen some strange actions occur that do warrant offence haha). Although slightly contradictory, that's not to say that people should just say 'nothing'. I've seen so many grievers online share that it's more painful when people say nothing than when they at least try to be there. I agree with this. There are some really wonderful people who are so thoughtful and kind, those who check up on me every once in a while mean so much to me. I even had a text at the beginning of Father's Day weekend from one of my oldest friends to tell me she's thinking of me for that weekend and that really meant a lot to me. I appreciate every single person and every single message that I get, whether something revolutionary has been said or not. 

I dream often about my Dad. I had one dream in particular where he was wearing the burgundy suit jacket that we laid him to rest in, he put his arms around me and was asking me how long I've been feeling this way, (because I was feeling very low). I woke up feeling somewhat comforted because it really felt like he was there talking to me, comforting me. That same day I was walking and thinking about my Dad and I saw a robin start hopping towards me, I literally burst into tears because it felt like it was him. I am quite desperate for signs from my Dad that he's still around me. I miss my Dad more and more every single day. I've had so many questions in the past month that I've really needed his advice and guidance on and it breaks my heart that he's not here to answer them.

I think I will leave this post here for now. I've been doing some writing separately for myself because even though I do share a lot, there's still a lot of things that are probably better kept to myself. But to sum up, it's so unbelievably tough, I don't feel ready to return to normal things knowing that my Dad isn't here anymore and I miss him seriously beyond any words. 

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