Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

3 Years

There’s no rule book on grief. If you ever lose someone and people try to tell you there’s some timeline to stick to, that “things get easier,” or whatever platitudes they think you want to hear, it’s totally fine to be polite and say thanks, but to know that it’s absolute krap.

People say things like that because they honestly don’t know what else to say. Often times those people haven’t ever lost a person close to them, someone they talked to every single day and relied on for so many aspects of life. I used to be that person who tried to find the right words, but mostly sounded silly and felt inadequate and uncomfortable around people who have lost someone.

Dad&me001

And now that I’ve solidly been in the category of losing someone who was in my inner circle of life, I can say that things don’t get easier– they get different. And they will continue to get different. Every day that you live is a day away from the person you lost. Every new thing that happens, every possibility of life is something that you can’t go and call that person or ask their advice. And that’s the tough part of grief. The loss isn’t just about changing life circumstances, though that can be huge. But it’s about not knowing what the person would say to you, how they would react, or what they might do to help a situation.

Three years after unexpectedly losing my Dad, after having our lives shot out of a confetti gun, I’m still trying to grab at the pieces. I think this past year has been the hardest for me since his death. The first year was all about working through the ‘grief-stones’– the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. and figuring out the various bits of life like finances, belongings, etc. The second year was about supporting my mother and family as they made decisions that came as a result of losing Dad.

And this past year, the third year which I felt was finally time for me to figure out my life– that I felt I finally was settled financially after my divorce almost left me broke, secure in my new relationship, and certain that my family was all going to “be OK”– that it was time for me to make my changes, my move, and do what I wanted. And it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.

In some ways, I feel like this past year was the first time I really faced the grief. I’m a task master, a planner, and a to-do list maker. The pragmatic, practical side of myself worked through Dad’s death by making lists, organizing food, plans, people. I did this for year one and year two. But year three was just me. And as I faced questions of what next? and possible moves, I have never felt so lost without my Dad.

I realize I might always cry when there’s something on TV or a movie when someone says “I love you Dad.” I know that he’s with me and I talk to him on a regular basis. It kills me to think that he never met Little Man or any potential grandkids. I know that feeling isn’t going to go away. I know that it might lessen with time and that as things happen in life, I’ll figure it out.

It’ll never be the same, it will never be better, it’ll just be different.

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3 thoughts on “3 Years

  1. Hugs, friend. I have no real words to say, and I don’t think that’s necessary in this case. Just want you to know that you’re on my mind and I’m sending you and your family lots of love. ❤

  2. Grief shifts and changes and never really goes away. Sigh. Thinking of you friend. I am glad you have such fond memories of your Dad! ❤

  3. When I took my grief class last spring, one thing that we talked about was how grief and the pain doesn’t really “go away,” it’s just that people get better at living with it. I think that’s a big myth about grief — that eventually you “get over it.” That’s not really how it works, unfortunately. It doesn’t go away, but it becomes less and less debilitating. Another metaphor they used was a series of valleys. At the beginning, you feel like you’re constantly going up and down, because everything sets you off, and when it sets you off, you can go way, way down and it takes a long, long time to come bak up. But then slowly those valleys become less often, and they become less deep. And it’s different for everyone. There is no right way to do grief.

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