One of the hardest stages of grief to work through, understandably, is acceptance.
“Acceptance is not about liking a situation. It is about acknowledging all that has been lost and learning to live with that loss.” -Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler
Right now, I have almost completely accepted that my Dad is gone and there’s nothing that I can do to get him back. It sucks, I hate it, but I can’t change it.
I say almost, though, because, there are still some weird, lingering thoughts of, “Oh, Dad can do that when he gets back.”
Of course, there is no “getting back.” That would mean coming back from the dead, and I’m sorry Dad, I’ve seen enough zombie stuff…
It’s just that it doesn’t seem real sometimes.
Which doesn’t make sense – I was there when it happened.
I heard the time of death confirmed: 8:12 on 07/12.
I know in my mind and in my heart that it’s the truth.
But sometimes it feels like we just left him napping at the hospital. (He did sound like he was just snoring.)
I just can’t visit him because of COVID. I have to keep my distance so he can get better, right?
Some day, he’ll come home and pick up where he left off. Finish the things he was working on, right?
He can pick up his mechanic books and further improve his skills like I told him he could to after his transplant, right?
We finished the deck he started and got the railings he wanted. It’ll be so great someday when he comes home and sees…
Oh, wait. That’s all wrong.
As much as I want those things to be right, they never will be.
So, my brain works overtime to protect me from the crushing emotions that you experience during a time like this.
It manifests as grief-brain + emotional burnout so I feel slow, lethargic, and confused.
It tells me that he’ll be “back,” so my heart doesn’t feel like it’s been ripped out of my chest.
It still tells me that about my Gramma, and it’s been 5.5 years.
The good news (I guess) is that I did reach acceptance after a while with Gramma, so I know it will happen soon enough with Dad.
The less-good news is that he helped me with a lot of that grief, and now I have to figure out other ways to manage it.
But again, I don’t have to like it. I can be sad and mad and whatever other emotions come up, but I can’t change it, so I might as well accept it.
A note on grief:
Losing someone is never easy. Whether you were there when it happened or heard about it from a phone call, it’s horrible and heart-breaking and downright terrible.
I had the chance to say goodbye to my Dad. I was lucky to have had that chance. Not everyone does. It doesn’t make it easier, but it doesn’t make it harder, either.
All grief is valid and challenging in its own way.