Anyone who has lost a loved one or someone who was very dear to them will be familiar with the natural response and intensity of grief.
I lost my dad in April of this year when he very sadly lost his brave 7 year battle with cancer. I admired the strong man that he was as he persevered with radiotherapy, medication, chemotherapy and blood transfusions, all of which involved countless hospital visits accompanied by my mum without him so much as complaining.
He put up a good fight. I guess he felt he had a lot to live for, after all he was happily married, had a lovely home and was very loved by family and friends.
As a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, I knew that I needed to accept my reality. My reality at that time was that my dad was dying and I acknowledged that the conditions were extremely difficult. Anyone who has watched someone they love die of cancer or any other terminal condition will understand the heartbreak and the feelings of being ineffective, indeed complete hopelessness as you watch them suffer and waste away. I felt like everyone was trying to “act normally” on the outside whilst inside we could all feel our heavy hearts shattering.
So when he did pass away after a couple of very intense and difficult weeks, my initial reaction was one of relief. It was over …. phew… the pain, the suffering, the heartbreak of watching him suffer from so many ailments and of course the heavy burden it took on my immediate family as we cared for and supported him.
Unfortunately we can get stuck if we don’t accept our reality. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages are part of the framework that makes up our journey in learning to live with the person we’ve lost.
For me, well I have experienced a different kind of grief losing my dad than any previous experience. It felt like a huge, forceful wave that came out of nowhere and battered me to the shore leaving me feeling mesmerised, shocked and incredibly sad.
There is no right or wrong way to feel and it’s helpful to accept “it is what it is”. However, I can’t help but feel that loosing a very close family member is a completely different type of grief.
This time I allowed myself to love so dearly and it was for much longer as naturally we shared my lifespan together. I appreciate him for the loyal family man that he was. He was stable, generous, kind and a considerate soul.
He provided for, loved and protected me and in return he received a huge chunk of my heart.
The only people who think there’s a time limit for grief, have never lost a piece of their heart. Take all the time you need.
If you are suffering with any kind of grief or loss and need someone who can listen attentively and help you work through your feelings, please do get in contact with me.