Grief, my journey: six months on.

I always saw 6 months to be a very long time. It’s a whole half year. But the past six months have been the shortest I have ever known, and yet more has happened in the past six months than I could ever have imagined.

When Dad died last October I was of course heartbroken. I never thought life could be normal again. And I still think this. But never in my wildest dreams could I ever have envisaged remembering my Dad six months on and having none of my siblings around to comfort and console. Never would I have envisaged that six months on, my mother and I would be dealing with complete isolation from our immediate family. And never in my wildest dreams did I ever contemplate that six months on I would be grieving the father I had lost more than ever. But six months on, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Losing Dad was the single most traumatic experience of my life. My best friend, my motivator, my inspiration, are just some ways I could describe my relationship with Dad. Losing that and more, was total devastation. But I do know he is here with me in so many ways. Just watching my boys and husband hang a wardrobe door the other day, having painted it, made me both smile and cry. That very wardrobe was made by Dad. That very wardrobe door was originally hung by Dad. So much of Dad is here in my home. For that I am so grateful.

When Christmas came just two months after the death, it was tough. But it was made so much easier having the family all home. We spent the day together and although there were tears, it was focused on smiles and happy memories of Dad.  The next hurdle would be March – Dad’s first birthday in heaven. We would all be home again, and a family meal would be had.

When March arrived, so did isolation and lockdown. The pandemic that is now sweeping the world, Covid-19 took hold. For our own safety and health we were all housebound, and only able to go out when necessary. Dad’s birthday in heaven came. Noone was home. It was a very tough day. Just one week prior to this had been Mother’s Day. Again, it proved hard. Just Mum and I. Dad’s birthday, just Mum and I. Then one of our biggest family occasions, Easter Sunday was upon us….just Mum and I. No sister, no brothers, just Mum and I. Those were tough days. Even on those days, Mum was cocooning so it was just I visiting Dads grave alone. These visits were harder than any grave visits I’ve had in the past six months. I tried to stay strong for everyones sake, but it has been the hardest part of my journey to date.

Being a very positive and optimistic person I continue to be so. I’m not going to pretend that my positivity keeps me from feeling down. I’ve had a lot of ‘crying days’ in the past two months. Days I know now I desperately needed. And through those days, I thank God that Dad isn’t here to experience this pandemic. Dad would have hated this scenario. And we would all have worried so much about him. Having watched him die so peacefully, it gives me great peace of mind knowing now that he will never get to experience this time. But it still hurts.

Shortly after Dad died, someone told me it would hit me hard in six months time. They were so right. This past few weeks have been really tough. Just missing him and accepting that I’m never going to see him again. That’s the hardest part. Knowing that I’ll never see him. Maybe those early months I secretly hoped it was a dream, I don’t know. But now I’m very aware it’s everything but.

In these very unprecedented times, I’m missing him more than ever. But even though I do shed so many tears, I’m always grateful for the life and relationship I had with him. The wonderful memories keep me going and they allow me to get back on track when I go off it. I now know there will be days ahead that I will venture off that track. Days I will need to cry. And I will take those days and do just that. It helps. It really does allow me to gain more strength having gone through those days.

Father’s Day is next on the memory list, and will be upon me very soon. It will be another occasion with again no siblings home. This will be a tough one. But like the others it will pass too. Dad will be watching over us I don’t doubt. What these six months has taught me is that the pain does get stronger before it begins to ease. And when the pain spikes, I know it will retract again. It’s a journey which one really can’t prepare for. It’s a journey which has to be travelled. Today I’m on a straight part of the road, tomorrow I may hit a road block, or struggle getting around a corner. But whichever it is, I’ll get there. And the road will be never-ending, as will the journey. I plan to travel it as best I can and to stop for that much needed break too when its time.

Grief is never planned. It cannot be prepared. I’ve no idea where it will take me next, but I’m ready and waiting.


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