The Secret Life Of Grief And Loss

I’ve been in a funk lately. People bug me just by smiling, being polite and being friendly. It’s like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and stayed cranky and rotten all day long. I’ve been agitated and anxious for no apparent reason. So, I did what I do best. I called my mom and asked her what the heck was wrong with me? Her answer surprised me yet again.

“Surviving meant being born over and over again.”
– Erica Jong
My mom said, “Well, you get like this every year around this time. It doesn’t surprise me. We all get a little sad and depressed this time of year.” That’s when it hit me. The anniversary of my father’s suicide is coming up. I can never remember the date even though I write it down or check through my old date books or ask a family member at least once a year. I go through this every spring like an extended version of the movie “Groundhog Day.” I feel bad for no obvious reason. I lose all of my energy and have this feeling of impending doom. I walk around feeling like something bad is about to happen and that I have to try and stop it, but in reality it’s too late. It has already happened. I seem to have some sort of block or denial surrounding this time of year. I am almost certain I had this exact conversation with my mom last year and the year before that. Turns out I did. My husband confirmed it. I go through this every year and every year I have no insight into why I am feeling low and down until someone reminds me. Then it all makes sense.

 “The wealth of a soul is measured by how much it can feel; its poverty by how little.”  
 – William Rounseville Alger

It seems my grief and feelings of loss have a secret life beneath the surface. While I am busy toiling away with the daily things I need to do to keep my life on track, my loss and grief are bubbling below waiting to make their yearly pilgrimage to my conscious awareness. It may or may not be a healthy way to deal with my pain, but it is what it is. I’ve made it through the worst of it. I don’t cry on a daily basis like I did in the beginning. At this point I only think about it maybe once a month as opposed to once a minute like I did in the first few weeks following the day we found my father’s body. The one thing that has continued after all of these years is that the week before the anniversary of his death I seem to relive those anxiety filled hours that I actually experienced during the week before his death. The week we couldn’t find him.

“Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.” – Oscar Wilde

Jim and I have been discussing this quite a bit over the past few days. We’ve come to the conclusion that I need some kind of ritual to memorialize my father. Something I can do every spring so I don’t have to keep going through this. I need it to be out in the open so it is in my awareness and not festering beneath the surface. I haven’t come up with anything yet, but I am putting some serious thought into it. For now, I am writing this blog post and dedicating it to my father’s memory. I hope he found some peace and I miss him. To all those people out there who have lost someone they love you are in my prayers and I hope that someday you can find peace too.

The only cure for grief is action.”    – George Henry Lewes

4 thoughts on “The Secret Life Of Grief And Loss”

  1. I get like this as well on the anniversary of my mother's death. Its like the brain just continues to reenact those feeling each year. I remember what day I got the call and the day I left but for the life of me I can never remember the exact day she died without looking it up either. Grief is hard and it doesn't seem to come with a guide book does it? I'm very sorry for the loss of your father. I think a memorial will be really good. I have my Mom's statue of Mary and Jesus (she had it out front of her house) I made a flower bed and every spring I plant some beautiful pink flowers around her. I also planted a bleeding heart plant in memory of her too. She had one that she absolutely loved. I think its good to surround ourselves with a way we can remember and a place we can go when we feel sad and need to tell them we are thinking of them.

    1. I think I struggle with what to do as a memorial because I didn't know my father well enough. I think of different things, but so far I haven't found the one idea that feels right. I wish more parts of life came with guide books sometimes!

  2. First and foremost, I am so sorry for your loss… that is a very rough thing! Now, have you ever considered going to a medium? My friend passed a little over a year ago and it was sudden (car accident). About a month ago, me and 2 other friends decided to see if we could connect with her. And we totally, without a doubt, did! It wasn't only what the medium was saying to me that made me believe it was my friend, I felt it in my soul… and it was great closure to me. I finally understood all the details behind the accident and I knew she was ok and that she was with me every single day, guiding me. We definitely cried, but there was a lot of laughter with remembering all the good times. This might help for you… It's worth a try anyway. 🙂

    1. That is an interesting idea, Alison. I actually have been to a medium before, but it was long before my father's death. I had a very positive experience. The medium was amazing. I haven't heard of one around here with a good reputation, but that might be something to look into.

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