For the second night in a row I’m struggling to sleep. True, I’ve not slept in my own bed for the past two nights but I’m tired enough and unwell enough that this shouldn’t matter.
I’m on a residential course for work and it’s been really inspiring. It’s been nice to focus positively on my job and on my role and feel empowered again. Whilst I have always been committed to doing a good job, even in the beginning of my grief, I haven’t felt that passion… I haven’t cared about my job as I used to. It’s just a job: I will try my best and that’s it.
This last year has drained me of strength. My break down/burn out last November and then the sharp decline of my Dad’s health, leading to his death in June…they’ve drained me. I’m still not myself and I’ve begun to wonder whether I ever will be again. I can’t be the same me as I’ve never been me without my Dad until now. He’s not there behind me; encouraging and supporting. How can I possibly be the same person now?
My current struggle is around the spirituality of his death. Let me explain.
I miss and love my Dad so much that I cannot believe he has truly gone. I know he’s dead and I know he’s not coming back. But a part of me still believes he’s there.
In the past two months, I have been on a few trips. Each time, things have happened that have made me feel like my Dad is near. Not ghostly happenings. Just coincidences. A lot of them.
Today, for once, immersed in my training, Dad was not there. My mind has raced and planned and considered and evaluated in order to implement this training effectively when I return to work. The distraction has been good, empowering. My mind has felt clearer, more focused than it has for a while.
I’ve thought about Dad today – of course I have. He is always in my thoughts. But my emotional baggage of grief took a welcome back-step today.
And then tonight, as all of us delegates sat eating dinner together, two of Dad’s songs came on. One from his death and funeral, another that I sang to him when he was unconscious. It’s not the first time that this has happened, even though the songs are pretty old. Think how many thousands of songs there are – what are the odds?
Dad was back there, in my head, pushing work out for a few moments. I didn’t cry – for once – but I felt him near. I’m still here, I’m with you. I wasn’t looking for these signs. For once, Dad was not at the forefront of my mind. And yet, there they were.
As I returned to my room, thinking of him, thinking of this situation, my eyes alighted on the pictures in my hotel room. I looked at them before, when I arrived. I knew what they were but the association only appeared as I returned to my room. Pictures of carved wooden ducks, just like my Dad made. Not live ducks. Not a painting of ducks on a lake. A painting of carved ducks on a shelf.
Is this coincidental? Spiritualists believe that coincidences are messages. Are you with me Dad? Are you telling me that no matter where I go, you’re still around?
I hope so. But is this wishful thinking? Is this a grieved mind fighting for hope and survival? I am in internal conflict: reality v hope. Realism v spiritualism. Is this what grief truly is? A hazardous path to acceptance?
I have no way of knowing. No one does. So all I can do is focus on this moment. Memories of my Dad, reminders of my life with him are all around me. And if they make me feel like he’s near, then so what? Whether he’s a spirit giving signs or strong memories being recalled, it really doesn’t matter. Dad was a huge part of my every day life – is it so surprising that so many things bring him near? I feel him close either way and that is all that it important for now.