Wednesday, 15 March 2017

WHAT I LEARNED WHEN MY DAD PASSED AWAY

 
Grief is not a set of stairs, it is a roller-coaster.
You can read as many self-help books as you like and read into the 'five (or seven) steps of grief' however, it does not come in any order and you won't necessarily get all of those stages anyway. You cannot predict the peaks and dips - one moment you could be laughing at something stupid and licking an ice-cream and the next you could drop that very same ice-cream on the floor and cry in a heap on top of it. Anything can trigger it at any time and you really do have to learn how to ride the waves.

You have two options - you can go bitter or get better. 
I have chosen that I want to live brighter, bigger and bolder for my pops and in his honour. I will live a life full of colour and fill my heart with memories for the both of us. I will pack in life into the years I have to make up from those that which were taken from him. I will live to fulfill both of our dreams and I will take him on all of life's adventures with me.

Everyone handles grief in their own way. 
My sister got extremely stressed, my Mum turned to alcoholism, one of my brothers wouldn't talk about it or my dad, and my other brother had a good old cry. I myself chose to ride the waves but I was overwhelmed with so many different emotions. I was very, very angry for a while too and I'm not an angry person. I have had a whole host of unexpected emotions and behaviours. I spent about a month or so drunk near enough every other day. I isolated myself from people I care about for a few weeks. I also pushed myself to have some amazing times too, which I know others wouldn't have wanted to. Grief is a unique path for each individual and we should really try to understand that when understanding others grieving.

Memories are the best thing you'll ever have. 
I have always thought this and have been saying it for years. My dad has always made so many memories with us, but I had a lot of wake up calls throughout all of my father's different cancers too. Trust me, when you are dying - you do not spare a thought for that material possesion you obtained but you do remember that time you were thrown into tthe swimming pool fully dressed, or that time someone came home drunk and ate a frozen pizza, or that time you and your dad went on a speedboat together and you told him you loved him on a megaphone. Making memories is what you're here to do. If you want those memories to be staring at a screen in a grey office then by all means be my guest but I'll be out there travelling, meeting new people with new stories, and making funny, interesting memories with those I love.

Death will be far less scary and more comforting than it ever was before. 
My Dad has paved the pathway to the afterlife for me. I might as well do my thing and live the life I have been given because I am going to the same place he has gone anyway, but I am not scared of that place anymore. Honestly, if I died tomorrow I feel my soul would float freely up there without fear. Death is only scary to me when I feel I am leaving the best behind and he has departed already. I also think you start to think this way when you lose a loved one because it makes you realise that death is actually something that happens to us all, and that in itself connects us and should be a comfort of sort. I wish people were more open about talking about death here. In the UK - the relationship we have with death here isn't healthy and is rather pointless because it comes to us all and is something that needs to be accepted. 

You will look for signs.
When you lose someone you love, whether you mean to or not - you will look for signs. I find that signs appear when I am at my happiest, freest form or when I am not looking for them. Having said that, I am always subconciously keeping a look out for them. You will get signs too, and you will know in your solar plexus how true that sign is, you'll know you're not going crazy and that it is exactly what it is intended to be. You'll find great comfort in the signs when they happen too.

You grieve your past, present and future with the person that you lose. 
Of course, it used to hurt me when I'd think of my childhood with my Dad, but those things technically hurt when he was still here if you hang onto nosalgia and yearn it. I grieve the here and now because my Dad was home and there is no one else who makes me feel the way he did. I grieve a future - that's probably the worst thing to grieve, of course I am sad that my Dad won't meet my future children, attend my wedding or see me excel - but what if I don't make it to then anyway and what if those things never happen? Why would I sit here and dwell on something that simply might not be? The future is the future and the past in the past. All you have is the here and the now and if you shift your thoughts then your emotions will follow. Yes it's sad Dad has gone and I will cry my eyes out and embrace my sadness, but then I will shift my thoughts to the happy times and let my heart fill with love and gratitude that I had him at all. I learned why we must live in the now when he was dying and I am putting that into practice now he is dead. 

Material possessions really do not mean shit. 
From my dad? I have a ring he gave me when I was 15, a tattoo of dad on my wrist and a heart and head full of experience and memories. That's enough for me. I don't care about anything else. I don't care about things, ownership or territory. Give me real, raw, happy emotion and time spent well and I'll be on my way. I have no time for your other shit cos we're all dying bebs and that is fact. You can't take your watch, car, house or sofa into the incinerator or the grave so give it a rest and drop the brainwash.

You have everything you need within you.
If you've lost your dad then there may be times when you feel scared and sad and think "my dad was my protector" or "he would have helped in this situation" - but, the fact of the matter is - he can't, and, the likelihood is 1. he wouldn't have known about this situation anyway as you probably wouldn't have said if he were alive in order to not worry him, and 2. It's your job to look after your fucking self. Growing up my dad was a body building bouncer who knew how to intimidate to protect, and that made me feel so safe so thank you so much wherever you are daddy, but I personally know there are so many other ways I can protect myself right here right now - firstly, don't put yourself in the fucking situation in the first place - take care of yourself. Secondly, my voice is louder than any punch so try me and see where I'd take you, and finally, I am not afraid to seek help and i'll find it, so no fucker will ever isolate or bully me into submission - ever.

People make more effort to attend a funeral than to attend someone's life.
At my dad's funeral, people came from Eastbourne, Portsmouth, Spain, Lincolnshire, London, and, many other places. It made me wonder why they hadn't made the effort to do so while he was still here with us. I mean it wouldn't have saved his life, but it would have made him extremely happy. He did have two friends in particular that paid the price for this. If you care, like or love someone - bloody make sure you're in their life! Make sure they know you love them too, when my father passed I was so grateful that I told him I loved him every single day in many different ways and now I always make sure my loved ones know how I feel about them too. Make effort and memories with people because, you DO NOT have forever to do so.

There is nothing you can do about a death.
- and that is the thing that hurts you the most and the least. You can never bring them back which is heart wrenching, but - you can never bring them back, so you must learn to let go and realising you cannot do anything makes you move forward, even if in tiny baby steps.

The people you spend your time with will make your grief easier, or much worse.
Be careful who you decide to spend your time with, not just in this crucial period of your life but for the rest of your life too. I need to be around interesting people that inspire me, stimulate my mind with inteligent conversation and make me laugh. When I find myself around people that don't have the capacity to do the things I have just mentioned, I find myself really missing my Dad for two reasons - 1. My dad was a hilarious and amazing individual who always managed to put his own spin on things and had a unique way of looking at the world so he thought quite differently to anyone I have ever met. When I am with someone who is even remotely boring to me I get upset because it makes me realise just how special my dad is and how much I want him there instead, and 2. With people that bore you slightly or don't keep your concentration, you find your mind wondering, and being that my father was the most important person in my life - my thoughts will be redirected to him, his life, and his passing and that can sometimes make me super sad if the person I am with can't even make me laugh or talk about it in a creative way. I have learned to surround myself with golden, positive individuals who are full of character.   

'The key to grief is motion.' - Elbert Hubbard
You can not sit where you were and stop life because someone has passed. As much as it hurts, you need to make plans and do them. Travelling helps me. New qualifications and job opportunities help me and the excitement of moving someplace new excites me too. Set up new traditions, new habits and new hobbies. Just move and keep moving because the cure to grief is not being static, nor stationary.

LIFE IS SO FUCKING TEMPORARY!
Life is so fleeting so grab it while you can. Who cares about the minor trivia annoyances. There are much bigger tofu fishes to fry. Do whatever you want to do, when, where and how you want to do it... As long as you're not hurting anyone else in the process then seriously, who gives a flying saucer what other people think. You can not put the confines of your mind inside mine, and that's why I'll be just fine! 

Peace out Potatoes x
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