My dad was a super weird person who said a lot of ridiculous, irrelevant things, much like I do, all of the time. However, in between all of his lame dad jokes he always made sure he reminded me of two very important things. Firstly, “that money didn’t matter because you can’t take money with you when you die, all you can take are your memories. So don’t be greedy, spend all of your money on the people you love and have the best damn time you can” and “when it is your time to go, it’s your time to go, there is nothing you can do about it so just live your life”.Those two sayings are why I live the way I do. He also taught me to be a storyteller, a dreamer and a gypsy.
Grief is a monster that eats you alive.
It’s been 5 months since I wrote a post.
You see, I lost my dad and my half sisters dad in freakishly similar circumstances within four months of each other last year. I didn’t get to say goodbye either in person because I was living abroad and I found out the news via a phone call. The first time I was at a festival, the second time I was at a house party.
Instead of writing about my experience like a “true writer” would. I have instead spent my time bobbing up and down in a sea of my inner emotions, gasping for air and swimming aimlessly against the current of my own life.
I know this sounds dramatic and I have to admit that sad, honest, and emotion filled writing isn’t my usual style but I can’t laugh my way out of this situation. Believe me, I have tried.
So that said I feel that now is as good a time as any to finally write an emotional filled post that I hope will not only help me process my grief but will allow someone, somewhere to relate to my experience and feel less alone.
So take a walk with me as I reflect on my seven stages of grief:
Stage 1: Shock or Disbelief
Both times the news was broken to me my physical reaction was the same.
I stood there shocked. The world around suddenly became silent and without warning my legs collapsed from underneath me. A wave of hot and cold dizziness engulfed my body.
It felt like time suddenly stood still and as it paused I felt myself leave my body, only to watch it crumble from a distance.
The silence was deafening, the desire to hang up the phone was impulsive and my ability to accept the knowledge was non-existent.
Stage 2: Denial
Like a lot of people I know, when I am forced to deal with an emotion that is shocking and upsetting – in a situation that doesn’t allow me to fall apart – I immediately enter a deep and dark pit of denial. Once inside the pit I quickly find myself too exhausted to try and climb out to face the blinding reality that awaits.
As I booked my flight back home to Australia I couldn’t help but fixate on my couch to distract myself from the suffocating truth. I focused on how sad I was that I wouldn’t get to see my shitty Ikea couch for a month. I knew this was irrational, but I didn’t care because at this point being irrational was far better than facing reality.
Stage 3: Anger
I always imagined tears would come first. But in my case extreme anger filled my body and mind.
I couldn’t believe that the only men in my life who I can confidently say loved me more than they loved themselves, had the nerve to completely abandon me.
My dad knew he was going to die and he told everyone but me.
Instead of saying his goodbye’s or insisting that I come home he would say, “Russian bombs couldn’t kill me.”
I remember that phrase because during the time of his death I missed seven phone calls from my sister because I was was so busy telling a room full of people that comment.
What a lying bastard!!
stage 4: Justification
I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should have flown home to Australia to see him because I had a hunch.
I justified my decision to stay in Canada because I felt that if I flew home to be by his side and he lived for another 10 years I would have abandoned all of my responsibilities at the time and panicked for nothing.
He constantly said he didn’t want me to come home, that he wanted me to focus on my career, so I shouldn’t feel bad should I?
Besides in the long term it’s for the best that I remember him when he was healthy, seeing him dead only would have traumatized me for life.
Life could be far worse!!
stage 5: Guilt
He spent his whole life trying to baby me and I ran away to the other side of the world and only visited once every few years.
I didn’t talk to him on the phone enough. And I wasn’t there when he died. Everyone else in my family was
there that day except me.
I hope if I have children that they aren’t as horrible as I am.
Getting out of bed is too hard.
Taking these pills isn’t helping.
Tomorrow I will feel better.
Tomorrow never comes.
Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope
Ever since the first death I began to see number sequences everywhere, every single day 1111, 111, 222,333,444,555,888.
The internet tells me that this is your angels way of connecting with you so that they can tell you that you are on the right path and life is as it should be.
I want to believe this is true and that all the decisions I have made since their deaths have been for a reason. Even if I don’t understand that reason right now.
I want to believe that someone is protecting me for the assholes of the world, stopping my heart from being repeatedly broken and ensuring that I am surrounded by the right people.
I want to believe that they are communicating with me through numbers, because the thought of them being completely gone is absolutely unbearable.
The problem with grief is that there is no quick fix or step-by-step guide book. Nobody can take the pain away from you no matter how much you pay them and in the same breath nobody can force you to deal with it.
Just when you think you are OK something as simple as a song, a smell or a sound can set you back.
The more engulfed in the struggle you become the more isolated you feel. And although you can try to come up for air by burying it deep within you, your emotions always seem to find their way out at the worst possible times.
But as stage seven suggests there is always hope.
My hope is that after this post my ability to find the most ridiculous things in life infuriating or important enough to write about will return.
My hope is that this seemingly never ending phase of grief will pass and that my life will once again feel regular.
And by regular I mean filled with adventure and hope instead of fake smiles and sadness.
Till next time