Grief is an ongoing process
As I write this, I have a pit in my stomach and tears streaming down my face. I share this vulnerability with you because all too often, we do not. All too often, we remain withdrawn, closed off and emotionally unavailable. All too often, we do not represent ourselves truly, honestly, authentically – especially when we’re grieving.
Someone says, “How are you doing?” and I say, “I’m okay. It’s a hard day but I’m fine”. Do you know how I really feel and what I really want to say? What I really want to do is yell, “I’m not fine, I miss my dad and I’m pretty fucking pissed off that he’s not here.” How would you deal with that kind of response?
As a society and especially as moms, we are quick to showcase anything and everything that is going “well”. Achievements (big and small), smiling families, parties, announcements, awards…these postings highlight the virtual walls of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. These images and words say one thing to the world: “I’m doing great…look at me.” But is this ALWAYS the case? Where is the reality of life? Life IS wonderful but it’s also challenging and full of “why me”?
Let's be clear. I’m not advocating that we don’t post these positively great updates. After all, it's equally important to celebrate with and for each other, as well. I just think we should keep it real and sometimes venture into the world of sharing “what’s really going on” behind those beautiful pictures and words.
Understanding and sharing the “why me’s?” of our lives, brings us closer to each other because the reality is that we all go through the “why me’s?” more than any of us would like to acknowledge. My dad passed away two years ago today and every day since, I have asked myself, “why me?”
I wasn’t ready to lose my dad. He was 61 when he died and I was 37. I know that no one is ever ready to lose a parent or anyone that they love but sometimes it at least makes a little more sense. My dad’s passing made no sense. He was healthy, lean and happy (most of the time). He was young.
My dad didn’t make it to my 40th birthday, my children’s 6th grade graduations, or more importantly the multitude of family events, dinners, conversations that we were supposed to have ahead of us. Yes, I know that I got more of him in my life than others. I know that I’m lucky that he met my children, his grandchildren. But it doesn’t seem enough and it really doesn’t seem fair. And there’s nothing that anyone can say or do to make me feel differently about that.
My heart continues to ache every day for the loss that I feel. Nothing can fill or change that void but the honest truth is that I’m not looking for anything to fill the void I now feel. That void is real and I’ve made peace with the fact that it will always be there in some capacity. That’s what grief is – a restructuring of your heart because you are forever changed.
Some people are not meant to stay in your life forever but they are meant to be a part of your life, for always. This is how I think about my dad now – it’s the memories, the feelings, and the emotions when I think about him that are always there and will be ever-present. Nothing and no one can take that away. And that is really just between us.
I miss my dad. Nothing will ever change that.
My dad taught me, more than anyone else, to live authentically. Ironically, it wasn’t until after his passing that I truly learned this lesson. With the 2-year anniversary of my Dad’s passing and Mother’s Day quickly approaching, I resolve to live more authentically. To teach my daughter’s the beauty in honoring their authentic selves. Even if this means the vulnerability of a “why me” post somewhere out there in the Social Media realm.
I hope you’ll join me in honoring your authentic selves. Maybe you'll even share a “why me?” post every once in awhile.
I love and miss you, Dad. This was written for you. Xo, Riss