It’s “the most wonderful time of the year” for some but for those who are dealing with loss it’s not all tinsel and eggnog. I have always been very open on my site about the recent loss of my dad back in Spring ’17, and honestly since my last post about him for Father’s Day it hasn’t been much easier to deal with.
“The empty feeling is still around, and nothing will fill that hole but I’m learning to accept that. ”
Six months later and I still feel that void, I still feel this unending guilt. A guilt that creeps up when I feel happiness, a guilt that creeps up when I forget things about my dad like his laugh or his scent. The worst one is the first moment when I wake up, and I forget just for a moment that he is even dead. It’s a nice moment of ignorant bliss though, much like my dreams where he isn’t gone. The grieving process is a long one, I think I’ll probably spend my entire life grieving the loss of my best friend/dad. It is also an incredibly personal experience, and everyone does it differently. Apparently one of the ways I deal with it all is long winded posts on a site I intended to be predominately about pop culture. This is not a post to make anyone feel sorry for me, and it’s not a post meant to push anyone away who has tried to support me. However, during my time of grief I have heard a few key phrases that although were meant with good intentions just tend to fill me with blinding rage or cause me to hit my signature Instagram story eyeroll. Let’s take a journey together through some of them:
“Time heals all wounds“: It simply does not, time does not heal wounds. It is what you do with the time that helps to heal but time itself does not heal the wounds.
“Your dad would be so proud of you” : Again, lovely sentiment but this phrase is just a reminder that I will never be able to make him proud again. He will never feel pride, let alone anything again. And, I know that sounds cold but part of my route of acceptance is to remind myself of that.
“He wouldn’t want you to be sad“: I mean, you don’t know that. I would want people to be at least a little sad if I had been the one to die, it’s part of human nature to need attention and acceptance. Maybe I’m selfish, I don’t know. Why would he not want me to be sad that he is gone? This one is a hard one for me, because I know my dad wouldn’t want me to be sad he never wanted that for me. But at the same time it feels like a stab at my relationship with him in making me feel like I’m letting him down for being sad. This can also make me feel like I’m not allowed to be sad.
“I’m sorry for your loss” : Well yeah you should be because it is f*cking awful and I feel awful. My dad was cool as f*ck okay. I often think some of the people who have said this to me haven’t meant it either. I feel as though they’re sorry they had to have this uncomfortable encounter with me. Perhaps they’re just sorry that I’m sad. But this is the generic statement you make to someone who experienced a loss. You say this to someone who’s cat dies too, it is the “Hi how are you” “I’m fine” of the grief world.
“Do you mind if I ask how he passed?” I do mind. My response of ‘cardiac arrest’ tends to be followed by one of the aforementioned phrases. Just be a normal human and wait until I leave the room to ask someone else how it happened. Gossip about it behind my back okay?
“I bet he’s looking down on you from Heaven” : This is comforting to those that believe Heaven and Hell are real. I can appreciate and even envy when people have faith in something bigger than them. I do not have that, I find myself believing in even less nowadays.
These are just the often repeated phrases, believe me there are more and there are of course a lot of hugs, and looks of sympathy that I could honestly do without but in the end no one means any harm with it. I know people just want to love and support me, and there is going to be times when I can’t accept that, sometimes I just need to be sad. I’m going to have bad days, I’m going to have good days. Even with the incredible support system I have I still feel so lonely that I want to crawl out of my own skin sometimes. It is a level of difficult I can barely put into words (ironically as a writer yes) the feeling of wanting to call my own dad to tell him how sad I am that he’s died. When your pillar of emotional support crumbles it’s hard to depend on anyone else. I cannot count the amount of times I have had news or needed advice and have found myself trying to dial his number. I find that people in my life are open to me coming to them for help, or to lend an ear to me but it can honestly make me feel like an emotional burden. “Call me or text me any time you need me” is a heartwarming intent to have for me but the way my mind works I can only think to come to you when it is convenient for you. I don’t like the idea of ruining someone’s day or night with my need for support or attention. No one wants to feel like a burden, no one wants to feel like they need to be ‘fixed‘, me included. What is so wrong with me that people feel the need to try to fix me, I think that sadness and general emotional confusion can be justified with the loss of a parent. I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of loneliness and feeling like an emotional burden will ultimately affect my current and future relationships. I cannot imagine trying to start a romantic relationship with such baggage. I have already felt the strain on a few friendships because honestly I can be a bit manic at times. But, much like the acceptance of the void and empty feeling inside of me it is something I will learn to adapt to I believe. That is a faith I can run with, that is a faith I can subscribe to.
And now back to your regularly scheduled pop culture,event, and lifestyle babbling…