It’s almost midnight, and I can’t sleep. I have words in my head that need to get out of there ASAP. When you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, your mind swirls with questions, confusion, sadness, anger – all the stages of grief. I know; I’ve been here before.
When my dad died on a fishing trip in 2002, people were so sad for our family. Not because of his loss, but because of the how. How terrible. Can you imagine? Missing for nine days only to be found, and he was gone. That “how” has never, ever bothered me. All I knew was that the man whom I adored was no longer physically on this earth. That “how” did not and still does not enter into my grief with him.
But, it’s now 2016, and I am grieving the sudden loss of my older brother. He lost his battle with depression just this year. And grief, the tricky little jerk it is, is not the grief I knew 14 years ago. Yes, he is no longer physically on this earth anymore either; it doesn’t seem fair we are doing death all over again. However, the “how” in this situation negates all I said before about my dad.
With my brother’s birthday and Father’s Day in June, I can feel the suffocating thoughts going around and around in my head. This “how” is so confusing to me; I am mad to be honest. I am mad at depression; I am mad this is our life yet again; I am mad we are hurting; I am just mad. It’s different than my dad.
Most days I can get up and go about my routine because two kids do not allow for days hiding under the covers. Most days, I am okay. I will talk about it, about him. I feel happiness and see God’s signs daily. I have two of the best nephews – my brother’s sons – who are my whole world and just the BEST young men I know. So, overall, I am okay. But with these reminders, I can feel the thickness and that “how” creeping in and starting all the anger and questioning.
Grief is not linear, nor is it predictable. Grief does not discriminate, nor does it go in that perfect grief cycle and you know what’s coming next. Grief does not make you an expert – your loss now may not be your first, but it doesn’t make you feel as though you’ve got it this time.
I know. I am in the thick of it. These moments will not be good ones, and I have to jump right in and fight the good fight. This anger I feel will pass, I have to believe it will. Someone just said to me that she lost her father to depression. She knows that anger well and for me to let it happen and know I will smile again when I think of him. That simple statement gives me the hope I need when I am mad at being mad.
The stages of grief do not end or expire after a loved one’s death. The grief from my dad and my brother do not match. Their death circumstances are certainly different, but the same ideal remains – they are both gone, and we are all hurting.
This post should not make people feel sorry for me – that is not what I want. My goal in getting out these swirling thoughts is to remind the bereaved that wherever you are, you are doing it the way you know how. But, what I want all of us to remember is this – we are still here. Yes, we hurt, but we are still here. People love us; our departed loved ones love us. The “hows” may be so very painful, but just as that sweet lady told me, we are all going to smile again. It’s that hope I hang on to everyday, and I hope you will, too.