Lately, I’ve been feeling…underachieved. For lack of a better analogy, I would compare this feeling to a car being stuck in a rut. You keep gunning the engine but you’re gaining no traction, going nowhere. My energy level was running extremely low. Frustrated, I fought to figure out why this was happening to me. I had been doing fairly well and then lost my edge. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my niece that I realized what was going on.
It was Year One.
Grief recurrences are intense feelings of loss that surface after you have convinced yourself that you have accepted your loss and have begun the process of healing. It often catches the person by surprise. It may be triggered by a number of things. For me, the dates and events surrounding Dad’s earthly departure were triggering emotional responses that I was failing to acknowledge. My behavior began to mimic depression in that I started sleeping a lot, experienced decreased energy and even began to eat less. I had to-do lists that were not completed and sometimes not even considered. Even though I was not outwardly sad, these triggers were having a profound effect on me. You ask, how does that catch you by surprise? Sure, I was aware that the date was approaching. Yes, I expected coping difficulties on that day. However, my emotional responses began several weeks in advance. Long before I began to think about August 9.
It was Year One.
Here I was on the verge of completing this first year without the human compass with whom God blessed me. Without the remaining piece of the pair who had been given the responsibility of guiding me through life. He had fulfilled his responsibility to me, my siblings, our family and this world. His departure meant that I had to figure out things on my own.
I have changed so much. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about his death. It is much too heartbreaking. Instead, my thoughts about Dad center on his amazing life. More than that, I study his life in an effort to improve my own.
As I close out Year One, I have one confession and one revelation that I’m sharing.
Confession…I have been miserably sad, much of the time. It is a lonely, frightening world for a daughter (or son) without either parent. Age matters not! I don’t share that to summon sympathy but to be brutally honest about this difficult journey. For we are all either experiencing loss right now and trying to maneuver over and around these difficult hurdles, have accepted a past loss and is gaining the momentum to move ahead or is facing some difficult days ahead since grief eventually touches us all. Regardless of where we are on the grief spectrum, loss is difficult.
Revelation…That Sunday afternoon left us dazed and broken. But, God amazes you by giving you strength that you can’t imagine. I am opening myself up to speaking to groups about grief and I am starting a grief group for a small number of girlfriends who are in various places along the grief spectrum. I am writing about grief and sharing, not only my story but strategies that have been helpful to me. And, I am slowly (finally) embracing God’s calling on my life.
What a year!