This upcoming weekend has led me to a serious and in-depth thoughtful assessment into my state of mind. On Sunday, November 10, is the first year anniversary of the death of my father. I knew that the first full year living without him would be depressing (at times) and difficult. However, nothing really prepared me for the overflow of feelings of both gratitude and joy as I recalled episodes of my life with Pop.
Up until this past August, I had very limited occasion to recall any of the fun times that we spent together. Then, during that month, I was able to finally come to grips with my own grief and emotionally express my sadness, much thanks to my spouse, Aaron. Since that moment, I have been flooded with the memories of the “better and good times” and not overwhelmed with grief and sadness.
From last November 10 until Sunday, August 11, I deliberately suppressed my feelings so that I could appear strong and resilient before others – be they family or friends. I never once took the time to deal with my internal emotions and expressing my own sense of loss and sorrow. I didn’t want to “burden” anyone else by simply being human.
I knew that there existed “stages of grief” that everyone must go through in order to survive the period of sadness that most of us feel following the death of a loved one. What I failed to recognize was that this same process applied to me as well as everyone else. For some unknown reason, I neglected my own vulnerability.
My inexplicable immunity to this trait denied me almost an entire year of coping and healing. It caused concern nor only for Aaron, but other family members as well. It also prevented me from enjoying many good times and many good memories throughout this same period.
Fortunately, I was able to survive my own stupidity.
As a word of advice, I strongly encourage all of us to once again review the grief process and commit the following to memory: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. All of us will deal with this in our own way and there is no set pattern that is applicable to us all. However, knowledge is power.