I’ve been back to the doctors today and he’s given me another week off. He listened to me sympathetically (he is an amazing GP by the way) and took the bombardment of what I felt was a pretty confusing description, and said that I had a ‘chaotic mind’. It’s pretty spot on.
Brace yourself… I’m going to attempt to explain what I told him.
We buried Dad five days ago. I don’t feel any different than I did before we buried him and I fully expected too (and I don’t mean better, just different). The only difference is that I’m not worrying about the funeral itself anymore, I’m just anxious about receiving and burying the ashes.
Excluding the day he died, I have muddled my way through the past few weeks. It doesn’t feel like a few weeks since he died, more a few days. I couldn’t tell you what I’ve done in those days, other than organise a funeral and fume over the insensitive selfishness of my half brother and sister – but that’s another post. I have barely cried since that first day. I start to fill up then stop. I’m not actively deciding to do that but clearly my mind is.
Part of me knows he has died, that he is not coming back, that I won’t see him again. That part of me feels the heaviness of grief but still won’t allow me to cry. This part of me looks forlornly at the place where he sat, hugs his jacket at night just to feel close to him.
Another part of me categorically does not believe this has happened. It’s a bad dream. He is coming home. I will see him again. When I feel sad, the mantra starts in my head “it has not happened, it has not happened, it has not happened.” The same voice answers my “Goodnight Dad” and “Love you Dad”, just like I said every night, with his reply in his voice.
The final part of me is stamping its feet, telling me to sort myself out… People die everyday. He had a good life. At least he isn’t suffering anymore. He couldn’t have gone on like that. It was for the best. You’ll feel better after the funeral. You’ll feel better when you get back to work. It will get better with time. This voice is telling me to pack away his belongings because he is not coming back and you’re just kidding yourself: you need to move on. It’s telling me to get on with my life and be grateful that I had such a wonderful Dad for so long.
All these thoughts are racing around my head, fighting to be at the forefront. My self defence mechanism is working overtime to dam the flood of pain that is lodged in my chest but it’s not really happening so that I don’t lose control again.
I can’t think about the actual moment of his death it didn’t happen but equally I can’t imagine holding his strong hands – and I worked so hard at remembering how they looked and felt in mine. It didn’t happen.
I want to run away, scream, stamp my feet, shout, yell.. And be alone. I want to think, to feel.
But I’m scared to be alone and need the love and comfort of my family and friends, because I haven’t lost them so I want them close. Even though they are getting on my nerves and I want to be alone. But I don’t want to be on my own.
My GP reassured me that this is normal. A version of normal. Everyone’s grief is different: it depends on their personality and the relationship with their loved one. He reassured me that I’m not going mad. I just need time. I need to let myself think and feel. This period of self preservation and denial will not last forever.
I just miss my Dad. He is the one I would have spoken to about this, the one who would have given me comfort and advice. I miss my Dad.
So, I tell myaelf: I’m not having another breakdown. I’m not going mad. I’m just beginning to grieve losing an amazing and constant part of my life. I’m OK, I will be OK. It’s OK to feel. It’s OK to cry. Because I loved my Dad and he’s gone.