Quiet time. Reflection. Tears. A little bit of laughter. Lots of love. Gratitude. Anger. Longing. Sense of feeling stuck. Finding myself again. Connecting with the Source. Answers.
This past Tuesday, April 23rd marked the One Month Anniversary of Daddy’s accident. As I look back, I see a journey of many emotions. No one emotion held for too long. A constantly changing tide of feelings.
That is grief. Healthy grief. Like with anything in life, it’s different for every one of us. It’s an extremely personal experience. My grief is unique to me. It’s not better or worse than the one you’ve experienced, are experiencing or will experience. It’s just different.
Not staying stuck in any one grieving emotion, whether it be sadness, anger, bargaining, euphoria, etc., is a healthy sign according to experts. And, for the most part, I agree. EXCEPT FOR the feeling of gratitude. I think that maintaining gratitude along with any other emotion is a VERY healthy way to grieve. Not everyone can do that, I understand. (As I mentioned above, it’s a personal experience, and I know that one’s relationship with the deceased, the nature of their death, etc. will have a big effect on the situation.) But, the ability to find gratitude in spite of any negative or icky emotion you’re feeling, is in and of itself something to be very grateful for. I’m damn fucking lucky! And, somehow, I’ve had that since the very beginning of this new chapter…
Gratitude isn’t a grieving emotion though. It’s a living emotion. It’s very much in the present moment.
It’s difficult for me to describe in words how personally evolutionary this experience has been for me. How can the loss of someone so integral in my life, bring me much closer to myself than I’ve ever been? EVER EVER?
Really, though, it’s not that surprising when you think about it. I mean, it’s times like these that really test you. In my own experience, I have found nothing else to be as spiritually crushing OR awakening as that of dealing with death.
Evolution of “Understanding”
The first time I endured the death of a loved one, I was 21. And that loss was that of my grandmother. My beliefs were shaken to the core. I asked questions, existential ones. Those questions could not be answered in a way that made sense to me. So, the world around me darkened and grew cold. I felt lonely, scared and absolutely terrified of death…
Over the course of eight years, I grew to become more comfortable with “not knowing.” I focused on LIFE. This life. Living it to the fullest. Not taking loved ones for granted. Through the years, I dealt with death a couple more times, and each hurt a whole lot but reminded me just how precious life is.
My world evolved from darkness and coldness, to warmth and light. Everything was illuminated by the radiance of living. In nature, I found the Universe, the Om, and the Universe and Om in me. I knew how to tap into my spiritual self.
Still, though, I was scared of death, scared of dying, scared of getting sick, scared of going to the doctor, scared of confusing pains, scared of anything that could spell out “Death”… I guess I was scared to death of death.
“I love life too much to be willing to ever lose it,” is how I rationalized my fear. I understood that death is inevitable; that it’s the only thing in life that’s guaranteed. But, I did not want to face that. I knew I won’t live forever, but I did not want to think about it. I wanted to run from that thought… I’m sure most of you feel or have felt that way about death, too. It’s just something we do NOT want to think about.
(Although, to be honest, for the last few years, I’ve thought about death on a daily basis… but I’ll save that for a whole ‘nother post.)
But, having dealt with the death of my father, who is an integral part of who I am, who gave me life, well, that’s been a whole different kind of experience. Different than dealing with any other death I’ve dealt with. And, somehow, it’s made me less scared of death. I THINK.
The Storm Before the Calm
I’ve never been scared of my emotions, or suppressed them. I wholeheartedly believe in FEELING your emotions. Acknowledging them, releasing them, and then moving on. I don’t think you can move through life if you don’t FEEL. Bottling up emotions does not seem healthy, in my mind. Feeling and releasing emotions just makes sense to me. I 100% believe this, from the deepest part of my being.
In my fear of death, I’ve cried and mourned many times over for the death of loved ones. For the death of myself. Deaths that haven’t yet happened.
I mourned the death of my father long before it came. I knew it was inevitable. I just didn’t know when it would happen.
While the material world-human Gina was not prepared for the loss of her father; the spiritual, infinite Gina was… somehow, someway. This is a testament to my ever growing, strengthening-now-more-than-ever spiritual beliefs…
To me, emotional strength is not holding yourself together when you feel like you’re about to burst. I believe it’s feeling your way through life, and not turning away from the icky, awfulness that is part of human existence. I am grateful for that aspect of myself, that I experience the storm before the calm, instead of the calm before the storm…
A Better Me
As I mentioned earlier in this post, my father’s death has led to a personally evolutionary experience. His loss has brought more meaning to my life. Does that sound weird? I know no other way to explain it. His death has immensely influenced my life in a way that brings me closer to myself than I’ve ever been. And, closer to him. What a legacy to leave! To continue influencing, EVEN AFTER death…
I just got through Month One of not having Dad “here.” My family and I have a year of many firsts to endure. And, we will get through it. I know we will. It will be hard, but I know we will, together.
I’ve made an affirmative decision to volunteer for Hospice. But, I’m going to wait until I get through Year One of grieving (I think that would be the healthiest and smartest option; in fact waiting was recommended by a friend of mine who used to work for Hospice… It’s much too early. I need to give myself time). In the meantime, I’d like to look into opportunities for bereavement volunteering, helping families who are going through the grieving process…
My Life Purpose
A new life purpose is evolving, and it deals directly with what was once my biggest fear: DEATH. And, it’s my positive experience that has made this oh so obvious to me (“this” being the new purpose). It will be interesting to see where this new road takes me…
I won’t discuss that new road just yet, as it’s still coming to light. But, let’s just say that my purpose in life is a deeply spiritual one. If you think I’m “woo-woo” now, you ain’t seen NOTHING yet.