It’s been 243 days.
That’s 5829 hours… exactly 349,768 minutes.
How long should grief last? Should I be moving on by now? Is the past in the past?
For those of you who will be experiencing grief in the future, or those of you in the throes of grief let me encourage you.
Don’t put it off. Don’t avoid it. Don’t wish it away.
It’s part of life.
Does it hurt? Yes. Does it go away? Yes. Eventually. Sort of.
If you allow yourself, you will eventually only focus on the good moments and let the painful ones fade. Just don’t dwell. If you dwell, you will get depressed and it will mess up your day. Think about it for a bit and then put it aside. Grief may not be a friend, but it doesn’t have to be an enemy either.
Don’t feel guilty if you choose to put your thoughts aside for a bit. It’s healthy. It’s necessary.
I often find myself dwelling on the hard things, the things that happened that I wish I could have prevented. The things I didn’t know about until after the fact. How is my dwelling helping her?
I had gone back to work her last 4 days. I thought she was greatly improving. I thought she was out of the woods. I thought it would be OK to be gone all day. All of the doctors said she was. She was acting her old self.
Then whammy. The stroke walked in and my mom walked out. It took her from me in an instant and I wasn’t even there when it happened. I was upstairs getting ready for church cantata practice.
That wasn’t a good morning.
My dad passed away when I was 26. I am now 56. That was 30 years ago and some days it seems like yesterday. I remember every moment of sitting in that hospital room with him, hoping he would survive the chemo.
Then it happened again. 349,768 minutes ago I had to say goodbye again.
I’m glad I was there with her. Would it have been easier not to? Maybe. Was it fun? No. Was it needful? Yes.
Experience life. Experience death.
Experience all of the moments in between with your eyes wide open and your mind engaged.
We try to avoid any type of pain. But we must realize that pain will find us no matter where we hide. We need to be prepared.
Do the best you can through it all.
If you look back and know you did your best, then your grief will be normal, natural, and without regrets.
It might be long. It might be short. Every one is different. Different isn’t bad. It’s just different.
Either way, don’t fight it.
Just go through it. Ask for help if you need to. That’s the part I have a hard time doing.
Am I through it yet? Nope. I don’t see any light at the end of my tunnel either. But that’s OK. Grief is normal. It’s natural. I expect it. It’s just part of my life now.
Besides, I got a late start. It took me 3 months to feel anything then wham, it hit me. Now I wake to it every morning and fall asleep to it every night. But that’s OK. At least I have a family to miss when they are gone. That’s more than some can say.
Cherish every moment with family. Do right by them. Take care of them. Keep them close.
I know I do.
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Thanks for joining me in this series, How to Support a Failing Parent. To read more on this subject through my personal story, go here.
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