I haven't said much on the subject publicly. Every time I try to the words don't come out.
My dad died six months ago of a massive stroke..... Six months! That's half of a year.
You think after losing a child I would be expert on grief. That is not the case. In fact it's the complete opposite. I find myself having brand new eyes on this entirely new life. A life without my dad. When someone dies it's like everything starts over. You wander around aimlessly with no place to go it seems. Like a lost child. It's like I've never dealt with a traumatic loss ever in my life. I'm not doing any of the same things I have done before. I can't even count on that. It's like I've been betrayed by my own mind, my own heart.
I never know what to say, how to feel or even what to do. I just go on auto-pilot for my own sanity and probably my family's sake. I don't have the luxury this time around to just lay in bed all day and hit this grieving process head on. I have responsibilities now, kids, husband, and house to keep me going.
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was like any other day. It was the end of the day for us already. I was randomly texting my mom something and she called me right away. She told me she came home to find my dad unconscious and was being rushed to the hospital. I immediately had the most terrifying deja vu. I had a dream about my dad collapsing a few months back maybe a year or so. But it immediately flashed before my eyes again. I wanted to hope. I needed to desperately hope but deep down I knew. I couldn't say it out loud afraid that would make it true.
I called my brother and sister so my mom could focus on getting to the hospital.
I called my husband.
I went into auto-pilot. Trying to do things and wait. To be distracted and I don't even know.
I knew I had to pack to get out there. I ended up throwing clothes around the room. I tried to look up flights but couldn't think straight.
I picked up my husband from work and was completely out of it. As soon as we came in the house my sister called.
"He's not going to make it." It echos in my head every day.
I collapsed on the floor. I can't even describe the out of body experience that happens when you hear that news. I was crying and on the floor. My body reacted before I could even grasp it. My mind split into two. The conscious part who was present and understanding what was happening. The other part screaming inside refusing to believe that any of this was happening. Not my dad! It's a mistake. Just put him on the phone and he can tell me he's fine. It's a cruel joke! To this day my mind is still split into two.
I couldn't sleep at all and we chose to not tell Riley yet. I had to avoid her altogether. Even though she was making get well cards for my dad. Every single second my heart was breaking into millions of pieces. All I could do was wonder how did we get here!!!???
We flew out as fast as we could. Which isn't very fast when you are going from Hawaii to Virginia. Might as well been in another country. We had to tell Riley in the burger king at the airport. I couldn't hold it in any longer. I didn't want to be in a rush to break her heart. But I didn't want her getting to the hospital expecting something different. It instantly felt like a movie and I wasn't living life. I had a role to play. The youngest daughter finally arrives into town. Where everyone else is waiting in the hospital room to say goodbye. Another cruel joke going to a hospital room to say goodbye and turn the machines off. You sit with them say goodbye but they can't hear you. Hold their hand but they can't squeeze it back. Begging God to just let them open their eyes and smile and say I'm okay. But the world doesn't work like that. Tragedy happens to everyone at one point or another. My dad was a missionary in the last 16 years of his life. And we all had to just accept that his work was done. My dad's story was done. That was it ...The End.
We all stood around his bed. We said a prayer thanking God for the time we had with him.
We sang How great thou Art ...his favorite song and said goodbye. Watched them turn off the machines and that was it.
I don't pretend to have this all figured out. I have no idea how I'm going to feel day to day. Some days I'm too depressed to get off the couch. And of course I have questioned my beliefs, my life...everything. I think grief is different for each different person you lose. Because every person is a unique and perfect creation from God. You can't expect to feel the same things for every person you lose.
I'm sure this won't be the last time I say something on the subject. I just wanted to hopefully help someone to know they aren't alone in their grief.
The best thing you can do for someone going through grief is so simple. A hug, holding a hand, listen, be patient. Grief is such a long process and we all deal with it differently.