Hey guys ❤️
So, this is sort of a super depressing post for today. And if you’re not in the mood for some emotional vomit, maybe abort mission at this point in the post. 😉
But if you want to stick around, I’m gonna talk a bit about grief. It’s an awkward subject for a lot of people. I know it used to be for me. When someone you know loses a loved one, or even a pet, and you know they are hurting, it can feel like a lot of pressure to say the right thing. Especially if you’re not always great in social situations (hey-o! That’s me). I used to try to say the right thing, whatever that is. “I’m so sorry” and “sending love and good thoughts” or something to that effect (some people like to send prayers, but I’m an atheist. However, I respect everyone’s faith or lack of it, so do what feels right to you). The point I’m trying to make is, death fucking sucks. And I knew that, but I’d never experienced the death of someone close to me. When my Boston Terrier, Frankie, passed away, I cried for a few days off and on. He’d been my childhood best friend. But after experiencing those emotions and getting them out, I felt better. It was still hard, but I could think of him and smile. And I still do. But dealing with the death of a human is different in ways I didn’t really think about.
All of this rambling is leading to the grief I’m dealing with: the death of my father. My dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness about 4 years ago. In an abstract way, I knew the day would come that I’d have to live without him. And over the last couple months, as he got sicker and sicker, I thought I had prepared myself. I thought it might be easier because I’m a nurse and I see death more than the average person. But I realize now you can’t really prepare yourself for something that alters your life on such a fundamental level. The night of his death, I cried myself to sleep. This felt like textbook grief. The cliche where the damsel crashes into a puddle of poofy skirt layers and graceful tears. Only, I was wearing jeans and I’m an ugly crier. But that’s a different story. The next day, I was alright until I went home and saw my mom crying while she was talking to her brother. I dare even the toughest, most badass, leather-wearing warrior to see their mom cry and hold it together. In the days after, I found myself being pulled into that hole of grief at the weirdest things. One night I opened the fridge and saw a pumpkin pie I’d made a couple days after Thanksgiving. My dad loved my baking, and thinking about how he’ll never taste another new recipe I try was the most depressing thought. Cue more ugly tears. But sometimes, I’m alright. I can laugh and appreciate a sunset or a meme or a good latte.
I guess my point is, grief isn’t a straight line and it doesn’t always make sense. Whenever people ask me the dreaded “how are you doing?”, I say I’m okay. Because I am. I’m going to survive this. I’ll still find joy in life. I will still read and blog and take book photos and see movies and laugh and kiss my boyfriend and hug my mom. But I’ll never be the same. Because my dad was more than a dad; he was my friend. He fought with me like a brother and gave advice like a girlfriend and taught me to cook like a grandparent. And the worst thing is, I’ll never get more advice or more cooking lessons or more petty arguments. As I change and grow and evolve as a person, he’ll miss it all. And I think that’s the scariest part. Because I have to change without him knowing about it. He won’t see me graduate grad school or get married one day or talk me down when having kids seems like the most terrifying thing ever (doesn’t it?) or help me figure out the tax shit when I buy my first house. And that makes change, in general, feel really scary. Because I have to move on without him and accept that he’ll never know me any other way than I am right now. That hallowed place in my heart won’t be filled. It will heal with time and be easier to bear (I hope). But I will always feel the sting when I think of something I want to tell my friend and then remember that I can’t.
So, to sort of circle back around to the awkwardness of grief, I’ve got a couple tips for talking to someone in the fresh section of grief. Just let them know you are there. Don’t dance around the death like it didn’t happen. That just makes the awkwardness so much more real. Send them a text or even call them and be willing to talk about whatever they lead you to. Maybe they want to talk about mundane things like football or the building of Star Wars Land (2019, folk!) or the weather. Or maybe they want to reminisce about the person they lost. It might make them cry, but it can also feel nice to remember them in good times. Understand that there is really nothing you can say to make it better. Because it just straight up fucking sucks, no matter what anyone says. Also, don’t complain about your week when someone’s dad just died. You’d think I wouldn’t have to say that, but someone actually said that to me. Like, sorry you’re having a crappy work week and can’t wait for the weekend so you can hit the club or whatever, and I really do feel for you, but please don’t think that compares to my nights of tears and loss. Overall, just be a decent human and be there.
If you’ve somehow made it to the end of this rambling mess, thanks for reading my emotional baggage. If you have any expereince with grief and you have anything you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it! And thanks again for reading.