14 things I learnt about grief after losing my Dad

  1. Grief can be physical. I knew the mental pain was coming but didn’t anticipate actual physical pain. A chest crushing heavy weight that takes your breath away. A tightness in your stomach & a feeling like your whole body is going limp & giving up.
  2. They say you move through stages, and you probably do, but they’re muddled & not clear cut. You can bounce between them & go back to one you have already felt.
  3. When I was going through the anger ‘stage’ I was REALLY angry. Angrier then I have ever felt in my entire life. I had no idea that kind of emotion could surface. I hated my Dad for dying on my daughters birthday
  4. Which leads me to irrational thoughts. I guess this comes under the ‘bargaining’ stage. I should have done this, said this, tried this. What if, what if. The questions do your head in. People may think you are looking for answers which aren’t there – and they’re right. But you can’t stop it
  5. You relive every moment & dissect every detail. I must have gone through the final week of Dads life bit by bit a million times. Asking people for validation on certain things, trying to remember the exact timeline of events.
  6. Some people say their loved one feels like they are with them after they have died. I don’t feel Dad around. I did in the days directly after his death but I think this may have just been shock. The only time I have felt ‘close’ to him since he died was up at my sisters house. Maybe he’s up there. She said she feels him.
  7. But you wonder if the ‘signs’ you see are merely coincidences or indeed your loved one. Just after Dad died the lights flickered. Then again during his funeral. The night Dad passed away there was an incredible lightning storm – something Dad & I would sit & watch from the verandah when I was young. The most recent was my hubby getting a birthday card that played a tune I hadn’t heard for years. A tune my Dad would put at the end of all the little movies he would make. I guess regardless if it’s him or just coincidence – if it brings comfort or a smile, does it really matter?
  8. You want the world to stop. You want everyone to grieve with you. You want their death to mean something. Every message, card, flower, etc is so important. You want everyone you know to come to the funeral.
  9. Little things can snap you back into your grief when you least expect it. Things like sounds, smells, sights. Things jog the most random memories. But as time goes on whilst some still bring sadness, some also bring smiles
  10. You realise who has your back when it gets tough. Who is there for you when you’re at your lowest. I am very lucky to have some incredible mates. There was one I called from the palative care ward when I was at breaking point. I needed to vent & I needed to laugh. That call brought me back.
  11. You don’t only grieve for the past – you grieve for the future. I even grieve for my kids. What they will miss out on. The memories they won’t have. The love they will never know. Being so young when my Dad died, realistically he won’t mean all that much to them because they won’t remember him. This breaks my heart.
  12. This will sound ridiculous but you have moments where you very momentarily forget they’re gone. The ‘oh I’ll ask Dad’ ones or the ‘Dad will get a kick out of that’ ones.
  13. The jealousy. In my case it’s jealousy when I see kids enjoying their grandfathers. Older couples celebrating their twillight years together. Complete family photos.
  14. It makes you reevaluate your life. Your purpose. Your whole exsistance. You realise material things don’t matter. Sitting by Dads bedside nothing mattered except the memories we had made with him. Because in the end, they are all we have.
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