Life After Dad: My Grief Story, One Month On

A bunch of lilac flowers on top of a headstone. Resembles grief.

My personal grief story after losing my Dad to leukaemia. This is a true account of my emotions, one month on.

It’s now been one whole month since my Dad passed away and I felt that I should reflect on how the journey has been for me.

First of all, it can be summarised in one simple word – BUSY! Now that the initial grief is over and the funeral is out of the way, there is a sort of “business as usual” mentality. Of course, there isn’t a “usual” anymore, and things have changed, but sadly the home won’t run itself

In myself, I’m finding that my mood is a bit like a rollercoaster: One minute I’m on the crest of the hill and seemingly unstoppable, and the next I’m hurtling towards the ground with tears that don’t want to stop. When the grief strikes, it strikes in the most peculiar ways. It’s not occurred to me yet that my Dad has died, that my Dad is dead and he has now been cremated, all I can think is that “he’s not here”. I want for him, I wish for him, I yearn for him and would do and give anything to hug him and hold him again, but I can’t, because simply put, he isn’t here!

A few times I have “felt” him. It’s an odd feeling, but not one that I want to run from. A few times I have “felt” his scooter, “heard” his walking stick or his voice. I expect it, anticipate it even, and yet as happens in grief, it never comes. I wish I’d recorded that sound now, if only so that I could listen to it over and over again.

Obsecure things can trigger me off, like the Amazon Echo “Cooking Together” advert. Even though Dad and I never cooked together, it was the father-daughter bond that I have with him that I miss. Last night, I wanted to show him the bee badges that I had made for his funeral and ask him if he liked them. One slight problem there!

Life has alsmost returned to “normal” without me. The friends that I saw at the funeral haven’t spoken to me since, my husband has returned to work and my neighbours are more concerned about who is arguing with whom as opposed to how I’m doing with grieving. Life is almost like normal, and yet it is far from for me.

One of the most damning things is that quite a few people seem to expect or want me back to my “old self” just one month after losing Dad. There is no “old self” anymore, she is gone, she is a husk. I like to think of it like when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly; I am in my metamorphosis stage. The caterpillar that was no longer is, I have had to cocoon for a while to develop myself and emerge as I will be. How will that be? Who knows right now? But I will no longer be what I was.

Two big changes have come about me, both of them quite melancholic. First of all, I have developed an awareness of life, I’ve developed an awareness of our finite existence and our mortality. I no longer fear death, I embrace it, but like any journey, I don’t want to sit by and ride it out. I want to breathe in all the sights, sounds and smells and fully embrace the joy of my simply living, of being and existing. It’s mindfulness at its best. There is so much beauty in the world when you truly stop and appreciate it.

Secondly, my wit has gone and it’s been replaced by something much more darker, more cynical, honest and yet more morbid. My father was the man I could joke with, I could spar with and banter with. Now he’s gone, he seems to have taken my jovial sense of humour with him.

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