Grief is messy. There’s no other way to describe it…. but its not the obvious kind of messy.
Its the kind that makes you feel like you’re fine for 2 weeks, just to have a breakdown in the car on the way home when you’re not expecting it, ugly crying as you drive home.
Yes, that oddly specific reference was me just a few hours ago.
Everyone grieves differently, and I know this. Some people can carry on and hide it away, and go on with day to day life as things were before your world was shattered.
Some people can’t get out of bed for months.
Some people wish they could be the latter, but instead are forced to be the former.
Some are a mix of the above, some are different. I know there’s no right way to grieve, but some days I feel like I’m doing it wrong.
You can know what’s inevitably coming all you want, but you will never be ready for the moment you had been dreading for months. You can tell yourself that you’re prepared for it, but I promise you, you’re not… You’ve spent days, weeks, months trying to prepare yourself to lose one of the most important people in your life, that you don’t think about all of the other things you lose right along with them.
2021 was a difficult year for myself and for my family, nobody can argue that. But for me, it was also a year of huge personal growth, and a whole lot of change. I finally started taking my mental health seriously, and trying to find the parts of myself I’d lost the past few years. Turns out once you’re as lost as I was, your chances of finding all of you again are fairly low… Which is okay, when you realize you didn’t really like all of the person you were before, either.
I spent a really long time afraid of what I didn’t know. I was absolutely terrified of losing Dad… but I knew it was coming eventually. I just didn’t know eventually would come so soon… there were so many things he needed to be around for yet. When he didn’t get to be around for a lot of those things, the fear of everything else just kind vanished. Something in me snapped, and I was done being afraid to change things. I guess in a way, losing my dad was a wake up call.
Grief for me comes out in a lot of ways, for me, mostly a whole lot of crying, and sometimes a whole lot of anger. I miss the hell out of my dad. But I think what I grieve most, is the moments he isn’t here for anymore, and the things I’m going to miss having him a part of.
He didn’t get to be here, and be proud of me when I ended a years long relationship, that had turned more toxic than it had good, and had left me feeling like I went through losing my dad alone.
He’s not here as I get ready to buy my first house, to help me move, to help me with DIY home projects, to play with Apollo in my new backyard, to see the home I create. He won’t get to see all the fantastic people that I have cheering me on, offering to help. He won’t get to laugh at me as I get to experience all the “joys” of finally having a place of my own.
He’s not around to see and meet the amazing circle of people I’ve grown so close with. The friendship that turned into my absolute best friend, who I’d be absolutely lost without. Dad would have absolutely loved her. The man I found the most unexpected, amazing connection with, who likes me even when I’m a mess & breaking down in his apartment on a random Wednesday afternoon… who Dad would have asked a million and one questions, and been so excited to have someone new to show his techy stuff to. And the family who’s become a second family for me, who treat me like I’ve always belonged there, and who’s daughters I absolutely adore, just as much as my dad did.
I’m going to miss him being around for the big moments that haven’t happened yet in my life. My first house, finally doing my first comic con with my art, walking me down the aisle someday, or being there when I have kids of my own some day. And that’s when the anger hits… I feel cheated, that I won’t have my Dad around for those big things. Angry at other people, but knowing I’ll never say it. Angry at myself for things that don’t even make sense. Angry at things I know I can’t control.
Grief for me is crying, and feeling angry about things that no matter what I do, I can’t change. Its wanting to talk about it with people, but not wanting to burden anyone with the mess that I am, so instead, I’m quiet. Grief is me, sitting in my studio at midnight on a Thursday, crying and putting my inner monologue onto virtual paper. Grief is feeling guilty that it took losing him to make me realize how unhappy I had been for so long. Grief is me knowing that I’m going to have days like this, and that’s okay… even when I really don’t feel like I am.
I know he’s probably somewhere, insanely proud of me. Just as excited as I am for my new house. Happy that I’m finally trying to do more with the blog and website we spent hours talking about. And so, so happy that I finally realize the amazing things I deserve, and deciding that I won’t settle for anything less.
Grief is weird, and its messy. Most days, I’m okay. And some days, like today, I’m an absolute mess. But grief has this way of showing you that you are stronger than you ever knew, even when you feel like you’re at your weakest.