This is a post that I've put off sharing for a while now. My blog at times feels a little like a diary more than anything else, but then I remember other people can read what I'm writing, and I stop myself from going that step further into the topic subject. I'm not going to do that on this post. If anyone reading this has been through the grief of loss, I'm hoping you will appreciate the honesty and prefer for me not to gloss over something so deep, as something thats easy to live with, because it's not. Coping with loss is one of the hardest things anyone can try to do. So if you're doing it now. Keep it up. You brave beautiful soul, it does get easier. I promise.
I lost my dad in 2017 to cancer. I hate that C word. It's evil. Even worse to me than the other C word. When I picture true evil, I picture cancer. That unspeakable disease that tears the person that has it into pieces. My dad was a strong man. Physically and emotionally. He was firm in his beliefs, opinionated, strong willed, kind, caring, loyal beyond all reason and loved his family. He was strict, painstakingly so, but because he cared and wanted what was best for you. He was a great dad and it bothers me often that perhaps he didn't know just how much I loved and appreciated him. Even when he drove me crazy. All those little things that when I was younger drove me mad, as an adult I now understand and I'm exactly the same with my own children. I am a female version of my dad - heaven help my little ones.
I wrote this on my dad's year anniversary, as it felt important to check in and take note of how I was feeling on that day. It's a day where everyone asks if you're okay. But if I'm being completely honest. I felt no different. I felt the same on the 364th day without my dad as I did on the 365th. It was quite simply another day that Dad was no longer with us in person. Then I felt bad. I often see other peoples posts on social media sharing their love and loss for that special person they miss when a year anniversary comes around, yet there I was feeling no different to the day before, the week before, the month before. Does that mean I'm heartless? Or perhaps the social media posts I see from other people are that persons coping mechanism, a cry for attention or sympathy as they miss that person? Or do other people genuinely feel worse on someone's anniversary and there's something wrong with me because I didn't... I know deep down that's not the case. Everyone simply has different ways of dealing and processing loss.
Some days are certainly easier or harder than others.
To cope with loss in a healthy way its important to allow yourself to grieve for that which is no longer with you, and to begin the healing process when you are ready and able to do so. And I don't just mean those that have lost someone to death. There are so many other ways to lose loved ones that are also exceptionally hard to cope with. Losing a meaningful relationship, a loved one to an illness they may not recover from, losing a pregnancy, an animal companion, or equally as tough, losing a part of your soul after something truly traumatising has happened to you.
Don't hide the pain or block it inside. Grieve. Shed the tears, release the anguish, the anger, the hurt, the trauma. Process your emotions. Allow them to flow freely. Scream into your pillow, howl wildly at the night sky, write frantically in your journal, shed tears over old pictures, reminisce over times past. Grieve. Grieve real and grieve hard. Then, when you're ready, breathe. Breathe in deep. Breathe out deeper. Repeat. Lift your head out of the shadows, slowly open your eyes. Take a hot shower, a candle lit bath, a stroll in the park, sip a hot mug of tea. Do what ever feels right for you to start getting back to yourself and repeat the process as many times as needed, until you start to feel like you again. Give yourself time to heal. To clear your head of the pain and be able to live freely, without the constant weight on your shoulders of missing that which you've lost so complete and utterly unashamedly.
Loss is a form of trauma. It's like being kicked in the private parts whilst someone puts a pillow over your face to try and stop you breathing. Loss hurts. Ever so much. But it does not mean the end. The end of something yes, but the end of you? No. Not yet my dear. You are still here. Still breathing. Still living. Still thriving, whether you can see this for yourself right now or not. You are. Remember and cherish that which you've lost and begin to work through it. To get back to normality.
Whether thats through focusing on your career, finding a new interest or hobby, committing fully to your family and spending time with loved ones, taking a break and going on holiday. What ever feels right to help you through. As long as it harms none. Do it. And do it well. Enjoy it. Learn to smile again. To laugh, to love, to live. Live for those that are no longer with us and make them proud that you are their legacy. If you're coping with another form of loss, live for the relationship you've lost knowing that an even better one will come along when you least expect it. If you've lost a part of yourself after an awful experience, let that part of you be free, be glad you had them as part of you and focus on the rest of you, become whole again. You are beautiful. Truly. Inside and out. Who ever you are, where ever you may be. You have so much to continue living for. So do just that. Live.
If you haven't already I encourage you to read the 'Make your own Magic' blog post on my website, a lot of that post deals with how I coped with my own losses. I hope it may help anyone reading this that's struggling with hard times.
I leave you now with a text message from my dad that always helps to keep me focused when I feel I am losing myself to loss again. I hope perhaps it may help you too. These words remind me to focus on the most important part of life that I think so many of us forget to do. Quite simply. Live.