Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The best way to grieve

My Dad passed away nearly 3 months ago. Obviously I'm still grieving, and this is a difficult time for me. I always felt that those who have lost someone react through instinct, but since he passed away, I feel as if I have had options on how to deal with this. I've never lost someone close to me before, only grandparents or an uncle, but no one I felt really connected to. It seems when someone you loved is gone, there are different routes you can take, and I think there is some element of choice.

Before Dad died, I knew he was ill and that it would eventually happen. I thought that I would take to my bed and not move for days. I think some people do react in that way, but for my family it didn't feel like an option. We all tried to be strong and try to carry on right from the beginning. We all felt awful and broke down from time to time, but we didn't let ourselves mope or dwell. I think a lot of people think that is the way people deal with death, but it usually isn't. People I've spoken to who have gone through this before have said the same thing.

I think about Dad a lot. I don't cry every day, but I do think about him and feel pain. When I do think about him, and go over things in my mind, I know I could push them out of my mind and force myself to think of something else. I feel like I need to spend this time letting myself think about him and the things I am going to miss in order to deal with the situation, and also because Dad deserves to be missed and thought about.

I think in the Western world, we all grieve so quietly. I listened to a podcast about grief, called the Atheist podcast: Grief without God. The presenter talked about tribal funerals where they have these women present to 'facilitate' the grieving. Basically they wail and scream and cry in order to allow the family to do this to. I think this is a really therapeutic idea,  no one would feel silly for being the most emotional person there, but everyone would have a chance to get their grief out.

I bought a book shortly after he passed away. My plan was to write down memories about Dad so in the future I can look back on them and know I won't forget things I feel are important. I know I enjoy reading journals from holidays and remembering times I would have otherwise forgotten about. I'm also scared of the idea of forgetting things, and them being gone forever. However, with everything being so raw, I haven't felt comfortable writing these things yet. I think it is something I will devote some time to, but when I feel ready.

I don't talk to my friends about my feelings. Mostly because they can't really relate to them, and I don't want to bring the mood down. I did go on the Macmillan forums and started talking to a girl from a town near me who is a similar age and recently lost her Mum. I think even though we don't know each other, and have never met, we both find it therapeutic to be able to message each other and talk about how we are feeling and things that we struggle with. We are in the same situation and are having the same thoughts and reactions to a massive thing in our lives. I would definitely recommend this to people. I don't have time or the energy to spend a lot of time on the forum message different people, but by messaging one person I feel like I have someone to talk to who understands.

I don't talk to my boyfriend about things much. If I wake up in the night and have had a bad dream, I will tell him briefly about it, and have a cuddle. I don't feel like I want to tell him all the things I'm feeling, but I don't think that's a bad thing. He knows I'm upset and is understanding, but sometimes it's just easier to talk to people who are going through the same thing than feeling like you're burdening someone.

I guess everyone reacts differently, but I think the way you react is to some degree a choice. If anyone reading this has gone through a similar situation, my thoughts are with you. Feel free to get in touch, or comment about your experiences.  

Here is a song I have listened to by The Streets that talks about loss. I'm not a huge fan of The Streets, but I found this song quite moving.

No comments: