Losing a parent is a very difficult thing to describe. It becomes something you can split into two categories- an acciden or a tragedy. Mine is, ‘I lost my dad to cancer,’ and then what’s even more strange is that…. it follows you everywhere. Every single place you go, it’s right there. TV commercials, billboards, magazine articles. Your category constantly smacks you in the face, reminding you of what you lost.
There are many truths to loss, and they all vary with each person. No one person grieves the same, and an honest observation of grief is that while there are 6 stages to it, they do not follow a pattern. Loss is cyclical. Loss will have you experiencing what I call ‘stage swings’; depression, denial, acceptance, and back to depression. All the stages, out of order, back and forth…. throughout the course of a single day. Nobody tells you this, though. Nobody can advise you on how to handle loss, because the caliber of emotion is so overbearing, there isn’t one way to cope.
One thing I’ve realized over the past 10 months is that not having one way to cope is okay. It is 1000% okay to wake up feeling empty, to feel like a huge chunk of you has died along with your loved one. It’s also okay to eat lunch with a smile on your face, not thinking about the person, or people, you lost. It’s okay to accept the loss, and then switch back to sobbing in the shower over the realization that you’ll never hear a certain voice again. When you lose, people are going to try and distract you from the rawness and vulnerability of grief, purely out of affection and simply wanting to help. Yet, it’s important to know that facing your loss head on, staring directly into the devil’s eyes, is an event that will come sooner or later. The sooner, the better. The sooner….. the more time you have in the remainder of your life to live.
There’s a big difference between being alive and living. When you’re alive, you go through the motions. Work, shower, eat, sleep, repeat. Living is on the other side of the tracks; you allow yourself to feel, to experience events as they pass through you, and embrace emotions as they come. When you live, you experience it all; nothing is left out. Loss is a part of this, and that’s okay.
You can mentally prepare yourself as much as humanly possible, or you can be completely blindsided by the emotional turmoil of loss. Either way, through my personal experience, I want it to be known, that no matter how it hits you, it’s nothing you can’t handle. I lost my best friend; the absolute #1 person in my world, a father with the most selfless soul. Nothing could’ve prepared me for it. But I think it’s crucial to express the loss, grief, denial, acceptance…. there’s no quick fix. There’s nothing to completely heal you, but you do have the power to look at your loss and face it.
And that’s okay.