Monday, August 26, 2013

Moving Slowly

For weeks I have been attempting to write "Part 2" about losing my dad, and I just haven't been able to finish the post. I guess I took a hiatus from the blog because I felt I couldn't write about anything else until I finished adressing what happened in April. This week I realized that isn't true.

I'll write about April when I'm ready (which obviously just isn't yet). Every time I've sat down to write about those three weeks of hospice care I just become overwhelmed with grief and can't finish more than a couple paragraphs, most of which I delete the next time I look at the post. 

Grief is terrible and life consuming, and something that everyone deals with differently. I've slowly been learning this in the last five months. They say there are some general "stages" that most people go through when dealing with loss, and I still feel like I'm stuck in shock and disbelief. It was only this week that I really listened to loved ones who said that it's okay for me to feel like I just lost my dad yesterday.

My dad and I at Silver Dollar City, one of our favorite places to visit in summer and at Christmas time.

I have good days and bad days, but every day feels like a giant mountain to climb. I never used to feel like this before my dad died. Now, I feel maxed out on stress all the time and lose patience easily. The first few months after losing my dad I was extremely forgetful, which isn't like me. There were a few different days when I called Raymond after work to see what I should pick up from Walmart for dinner, and in the ten minute drive home I completely forgot to even go to the store.

Throughout college I filled my days with work and school from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and that was my normal. I handled it well, thrived on it even, but I simply cannot do those hours anymore. If there is one thing in particular I've realized I need in order to heal, it is time at home or the gym, away from other responsibilities or commitments, to focus on myself. For weeks I tried to deny this, feeling selfish, and my grief and feelings of stress grew to enormous levels. 

Exercise has helped, and in June Raymond and I started going to the gym six times a week. We haven't quite kept up that intensity throughout August, but we have at least made an effort. Several friends thought I was obsesive about the gym in June, but I needed something else to focus on and give my mind a break from 24/7 grief.

And it is 24/7. I can work, and socialize, and go to the gym, but it's always there. If you have never lost someone close to you, you probably don't understand. That's okay. I'm glad, for your sake, that you have never had to go through something like this, but I also ask your patience and kindness. There's no time limit on grief, although I read today that most people will only put up with your grief for about a month and that's the most they can handle. How could I have even started to deal with the loss of my dad in four short weeks? If you have dealt with serious grief, then you know what I'm saying... and thank you for understanding. 

I can go through daily life, working hard and trying to sleep, but that doesn't mean I've even barely started down the long path of dealing with this loss. Every season and year will bring different memories, which are lovely and painful at the same time. 

Sometimes these moments sneak up on me during a perfectly normal day. On Friday night I drove past a high school football game, and it reminded me that it is fall sports season (meaning golf). Immediately, just by driving past a back-to-school scrimmage, I was transported to a world full of golf memories with my dad. He was so busy at work, but he always made time to go to my tournaments.

My first golf tournament in college, my parents were so excited that they drove all the way to San Antonio to see me play.

Every day is just plain hard. I post this in hopes that other people I know who have lost a parent in the last year understand that they are not alone in feeling like every day is a struggle.