The thing about Grief…

The thing about grief is that it never really ends.

The truth is, I have been grieving for three and a half years. Grief, like I have been told and have fully experienced, is not linear. It comes in waves, and you never stay in the same stage. While my daughter’s struggles with her rare disease have caused great grief to my family, we once again remember, she is not grieving. She is happy and content. But at the end of the day, it is us, who is sad for the typical life we thought she would have. For a while, I reached a place of contentedness regarding my daughter, maybe even close to acceptance, and found a good balance in life in which I could grieve the loss of what we pictured, and find joy in what we have.

But, grief reared its ugly head in full force, again three weeks ago, when I lost my father.

While no one can tell you how to feel, how to react, how to act, or how to process, there is this ever present feeling of guilt. Is it ok to smile when you are talking to someone? To forget for a second? To sleep an uninterrupted night?

The loss of my father has a left a gaping hole in my heart and the hearts of my family, his friends, and even the patients he has treated throughout the years.

While the shock of no longer having my father present physically has truly taken me through a whirlwind of emotions, the
anger within me has been fully ignited.

I am angry that my father; the most selfless, kindest, loving father, has been taken from me. I am angry that he is not here, to witness his grandchildren grow up. I am angry that he will not be there to comfort me, and me him, on the hardest of days. I am angry that life has to be this way sometimes.

But grief is funny in a way, because one minute you can feel at peace or fine for just a moment, and then in a fleeting instant, it
overwhelms you.

Standing in a store, forgetting what you were there for, when all of a sudden, your eyes well up and your chest swells with hurt. Sharing a
story about my dad, and all the funny jokes he told, being in the moment with him and then remembering that he is not. Going away to the beach shortly after his passing, trying to escape the reality, but knowing that you can’t leave your troubles behind. Watching the waves move back and forth, the clouds slowly skate through the sky,and wondering is he here with me? Eating dinner with your
family, and knowing that there should be another seat at the table for him. That feeling when you are surrounded by people, but feel lonelier than ever, knowing that no matter what you do, you cannot bring him back. And that is grief. The hardest of moments that just feel deafening and too loud.

I know grief all too well, and I have become experienced in learning to live with it. I miss my dad and his laughing and shining spirit, but I know that through me, and through my children, he will live on. When my son laughs a hearty laugh or tells one of his many jokes, I know my dad is laughing with him. I know when my daughter takes her first step, or utters her first word, my dad will be there guiding her and helping her along. He may not be here earth side, but he will live on in our hearts and memory.

While grief may be powerful and at times, out of our control, know that it won’t last forever and it will come and go. When you find joy in a moment, or in many moments, hold on to those because they are what allows us to find happiness in the darkest of days.

The thing about grief is that it allows us to feel, and to know that while things may feel hard, there won’t always be a cloud looming over you. The sun will shine, and there may be a rainbow every now and then. So look hard, because the light is there, shining through and waiting to be seen.

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