I am a spitting image of my dad. Anyone who has ever met both of us can attest to that. From our physical appearance to our lack of outward emotion, there is no denying the man was my father. I only saw my dad cry twice the 25 years that I knew him. Once when he and I had to go have our dog, Max, put to sleep, the other when we were having a conversation about faith and God (both very different situations). In the most tragic times in life, we both have (had?) a natural instinct to fix things, or at least make them better. Most times, this means we don’t have the ability to comprehend the emotional side of the situation at the time. From the night my dad passed away for the next year, I took on the role of the fixer.
To a lot of people this probably came across as unemotionally affected. Many people (professional grief counselors included) told me that I needed to let myself grieve. Every time I heard this, I was more and more confused. How do I grieve? Just because I don’t cry every day doesn’t mean I am not going through the hardest time of my life. Besides, I am not outward with my feelings very often (contrary to what this blog would suggest), so other than saying “I miss my dad” every so often, I didn’t feel the need to talk about the situation.
It’s now been 17 months since my dad died. I still don’t know if I’ve “grieved” properly. I don’t really know how you know that. I know for sure it’s as hard today as it was the day it happened. I have learned to cry over the past 17 months, which I think is part of the process. I don’t think there really is a right or wrong way to grieve. For me, I listen to my dad’s favorite songs every day. That’s not necessarily grieving, but it makes me feel better.
I do know I’ve had a peace about my dad since the day he died because he was the most amazing Christian man I’ve ever known and I have no doubt he is in a better place. I think in grieving you will definitely have your ups and downs. There are a lot of emotional things I struggle with now that I didn’t worry about 18 months ago. I think that’s just normal. I am hoping it gets better with time. I know there are a lot of “thinks” and “hopes” in this post, but that’s because I honestly have no idea. I also know a lot of people probably think this blog post is a little too heavy or wonder why I am writing things that are so personal, but as I said earlier, I am not very outward with my feelings and writing is one of the most therapeutic things I can do. It’s almost like talking to someone, you just don’t have to worry about what they say back. ;)