Dealing with Loss and Grief

We can heal through heartbreaking loss if we are brave enough to face it.

Blasius Erlinger/Getty Images
Blasius Erlinger/Getty Images

There are times during my grief journey that I feel incredibly alone. Since my Dad has left, my world has become quiet. Sometimes I replay one of his saved voicemails just to hear his voice. “I love you Lisa Mia;” his voice is muffled and I can hear the pain he endured for so long and just like that my heart begins to ache. I quickly hang up, and I desperately need a moment alone to weep for the loss of my Dad, my best friend, my biggest fan in life.

My grief is now a part of me, forever. There are times I honestly think there is no way I could ever feel better again. My grief is so powerful; my losses have transformed me.

I am on an endless quest for peace within my soul.

Grief is NOTHING like the movies portray it. It is extremely messy and complicated. Grief thins out the herd, leaving even the strongest on their knees begging God for mercy.

During the almost 2 years, 3 months and 6 days since my father has died, family members have disappointed me, friends have vanished, and new bonds have formed. I am carefully navigating my massive waves of grief. The anchors in my life have been cut and the void in my heart is deeper than I ever could have imagined.

As the days evolve into months I am realizing that my grief is also made of love. It is because I have loved so much that I am hurting so much. Through my grief I am choosing to be a living example of my love. I am slowly accepting my tremendous loss by remembering the gifts my Dad gave me. He encouraged me to nurture relationships while we dealt with his illness and death. He encouraged my work and education, so I would have fulfillment and a successful life. Not a day goes by that I do not miss my Dad. But I find strength by remembering the memories we shared, and those memories cannot be taken away, by anyone or anything.

Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving… That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. ”
― Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

My journey is showing me that we can heal through heartbreaking loss if we are brave enough to face it. Facing our grief is both painful and terrifying. I wasted so much of my time angry at people who failed to acknowledge my father’s death. I now refer to that as misplaced anger. Facing my grief head-on has taught me about the grieving process, which at times is messy and complicated.

Below are some lessons I am learning along the way. While there is no right or wrong way to grieve, I hope that the suggestions below can you find your way.

1. The pain will always be there, just not as intense. When someone we love dies we are left with a gaping hole in our heart. The pain is intense and at times paralyzing. The pain never goes away, but as time passes you learn how to survive. During the early days of my grief just showering and speaking was difficult. People were calling to express condolences and I just wanted to lay in bed and stare at the wall. Those were dark, devastating moments, but as time passed I slowly found my way back into the light. There will always be moments when a memory brings me back, but I am learning who to confide in and how to express myself.

2. Look through old photos, emails, letters and anything else you may have shared. There is comfort in memories. The photos with my Dad are now my lifeline. I treasure every single one of them, even the not so flattering ones.

3. Exactly how we choose to heal is up to us – sometimes setting aside 15 minutes each day to be by yourself in a quiet place to give yourself space to grieve.

4. Grief will change your address book, and sometimes it’s for the better. Those that cannot be there for your during the dark times are not worth your precious time.

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