Do you ever feel so so tired, tired of the pain, tired of the sadness, tired of that complete emptiness you feel inside now the people you adored so much are no longer here. I always assumed with grief that it would be a process, a process of ups and downs, back and forth. What I never realised was how the pain I felt in my heart, would remain forever. So obvious, so raw, even now after my dad being gone for almost 18 months, it’s still so so real to me. Its something I’m living with every single day. And I’m tired of feeling that way, my heart is tired, I’m tired.
I find lately really having to prepare myself mentally for any type of celebration, or gathering where I’ll be with all my family. I almost have to have a little chat with myself beforehand, get your shit together Phebs, enjoy these moments, for yourself and dad. But it’s just so hard. So hard to feel the joy in those gatherings when something is so obviously absent from the group. I go over things a lot in my head, I’m a dreamer when it comes to my thoughts. I can easily get stuck in them, easily get carried away with them, and I have to be so careful with this as like so many of you will agree, it can leave me living only in the sadness. Only in the trauma of what happened and what we went through as a family when we lost dad. If I let myself stay there I can’t function properly, I’m not focused, I don’t give the best of myself to people, I’m not the best mother I could be, I’m not the best wife. It’s so hard to draw myself away from the sadness in my thoughts as I allow myself to daydream but I know I have to, not just for myself and my own healing but for those I love too.
It’s about finding that strength, isn’t it. That control where you almost harness your grief and take control of it, not allowing it to overcome and take control of you. And that’s how I feel I cope best, when I own my grief, when I take the reigns and say “right, not today, not right now” but then after that not suppressing it, not dismissing it, instead, finding a quiet space, a time to sit in stillness in those thoughts and allowing those emotions and that pain to flow. And that’s so necessary for our healing allowing what needs to flow, flow. We can’t keep it bottled up, we can’t shunt it aside. That’s not how grief works, it demands to be seen, it demands to be felt. After all, how can something we loved so much be taken away from our lives, and it not be this way. Grief is the price we pay for our love. And a price I would pay a million times again knowing that it meant I got to spend 30 years sharing life with my dad, I wouldn’t change that in a second.
Grief is exhausting, its honestly something I couldn’t comprehend until I lost my dad. It’s consuming, it’s like a permanent shadow with you every day. A permanent hollowness inside. I sometimes for a moment forget that my dads no longer here, and think “oh I must tell dad that” to be quickly knocked back by the reality that he’s not here anymore. Leo starts school next week, and when getting his uniform ready today on its hangers I had the deepest ache in my heart knowing I wouldn’t be able to FaceTime my dad on his first morning before school starts. Leo wouldn’t be able to stand and show his Grandpa his uniform, Dad wouldn’t be able to fill him with words of encouragement for his very first day, “You’ll be so great Lion Boy” That’s what he’d say. And that just feels so sad to me, to feel like life has ripped us of those moments, those firsts that we never got the chance to have. Just taken away so cruelly, death will just take and take, and it’s beyond our control. And that is something to this day, months on, I really struggle with.
When my dad died a part of me went with him. And I know that it’s the same for my whole family, my mum, and my siblings. My nana, my dad’s sisters, his friends. None of us are the same now, none of us are whole anymore. And that’s something I was never prepared for. How the loss of him would reshape us all as adults, how we would all change. Some parts for the worse, I have a lot more anger now, I sometimes get stuck in that, it’s a very negative place to be. But some parts of me have changed for the better, I’m more compassionate now, I feel deeper, I connect deeper to people, I have more time to acknowledge and support others. And that’s a gift my dad has left me with.
We will never feel or be the same, but we must look for the gifts they’ve left us with. It may not be obvious to you right now, but in time, it will become clear. It’s only goodbye for now, not forever. And whilst we have this time, we should do all we can to make it great. We will ride these waves together, we will feel the emptiness together, we will heal day by day together until we meet them again. Our hearts are tired, but we will find that strength. That power within to push forward, to live as they wished, you’ve got this, we’ve got this, x