2011 was a very tough year for my family and I. At the age of 57 I lost my dad from Central Nervous System (CNS) lymphoma cancer. I felt that my life had shattered and fallen apart. He was my strength and guidance and felt that I had no one anymore. It was a year of roller coaster emotions and grief I was going through. With the help of my family, friends and therapy I was able to get through the year, get to a point of acceptance. This stage is very hard to get to when you have lost a loved one. Here are some ways I grieved.
1. The day your loved one is no longer here, you are so numb. You are numb to a point where you do not even know what is going on because you are trying to get your thoughts and emotions together and come to some reality. This is very normal. I dealt with this by wanting to be alone or just with my close family and friends.
2. Write in a journal that can help you with your emotions. It was easier for me to write things down then verbally express my emotions of roller coasters. I was given a journal from a close friend when my dad was going through chemotherapy and it helped me write down my emotions which built strength.
3. Engage yourself in things that do not remind you of your loved one, or it will take over your whole day, week, month and year! Keep yourself busy, I had my kids to keep me busy. They kept my mind off of things and were an amazing comfort for my mom. My kids reminded me everyday that there is still a LIFE to LIVE and things will get better.
4. Have a spiritual life, my strength was my belief in religion; Hinduism which has a lot of spiritual meanings. I am a great believer of reincarnation and knowing that my dad was still around, even though I could not see him or feel him, made me feel more at ease. I know he is in some formation of an animal or human and just knowing that he is still living somewhere is a feeling of great comfort.
5. Find a support group or get grieving therapy. I went to grieving therapy and it was just so nice to talk to someone who was not bias, someone who gave you guidance on how to deal with your emotions and anger, someone who will listen to whatever you have to say and then guide you with tools to use.
6. Don’t shut down! I know this is easy to say but very hard to do. But the more you shut down then more you build up. Try talking about your loved one, things that remind you of your loved ones. Talk about the great memories and what an amazing person they were. I at first did shut down where I just wanted to be alone, or more like in denial that my dad was no longer here. But after a while, I was building things up and I felt like I was going to burst any day, I was not myself and really did not know how to act around others. My friend had to snap me out of it and told me to open up, talk about it, cry about it, laugh about it, be angry about it, you name it! That’s when my emotions spilled and felt at ease to talk about my dad’s passing.
7.Volunteer at a place you believe in or donate to a charity in honor of your loved one. I have volunteered and also walked for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Organization. My family, friends and I walk Light the Night every year in honor of my dad. We also volunteer at the office. My family and I do this because we know how it is to have a loved one battling cancer, and the thought of helping others who are battling cancer is a reward. Also, my dad was a big believer in helping others especially always donating to charities, organizations and shelters. So I will continue doing this in honor of him!
8.Acceptance. This stage is very hard to come to. It does not mean you have healed fully and are instantly happy, it means you have come to realize that your loved one is not going to come back, you have come to knowledge that life still continues and there is still strength and a will to move forward and learn to accept what has happened.
Your loved one is always going to be dearly missed, but you have to remember that they are still around you and are watching over you.