photo courtesy google images
Today's topic is a hard one but one I feel the need to share/tell. Even if it shows me in some of my darkest times - if there is one thing I am...it is real. This post isn't so much about grief as it is about true loss and what loss can do to a person.
Besides my Grandpa, I have NEVER 'lost' anyone,never seen someone with the light gone from their eyes, laying in their own bed, never had to make complete funeral arrangements - meaning, do you want a casket that seals OR a barrier that seals, never signed a death certificate...a whole bunch of 'Nevers'.... I never,I never I never...there is so much more I want to say, but how do you describe a last call, an inner intuition,an inner knowing that made you call everyone in your family...before anything even happened...
Some of you may know that my daddy passed away in April. To say that these past 7 months have been some of the hardest I have faced, would be an understatement.
In a nutshell-for those of you that didn't go through this with me on my blog, Daddy had a rare sarcoma cancer that started in his knee and eventually moved to his lungs. When we were told it had spread, we knew the days were numbered...I knew things would never be the same... I just didn't know how far I would fall.
After he passed away, I sunk into a deep depression, I became a very suspicious person. I retreated further into my shell, I drank... A LOT! I didn't sleep, didn't eat, didn't shower. I became bitter and hard, it's like every ounce of compassion that had once been one of my best traits had gone, vacated, left the building...I felt nothing...but...GUILT. It was an endless cycle.
I would replay the past 2 years over and over in my head over the coming days and weeks after daddy's passing, for most of those 2 years I was his sole helper, getting him to appointments, letting him live with us, taking care of him after chemo treatments. Then I got mad and very angry, mad at my sisters for not helping more, for leaving everything up to me. I was angry at the fact that I knew he was going to die and I sat through those doctor appointments and listened while they gave him hope and deep down, still, I knew he.would.die. I didn't have hope.
While everyone else stayed positive, I became the realist or pessimist (privately), maybe it was my own way of preparing myself for what was to come, but no matter what the doctor said, or what the family said or what daddy said and his will to fight- Lord knows he wanted to fight this, I knew, I REALLY knew what the outcome would be AND I knew it would be sooner rather than later...hence the guilt and all the other things I felt in the days, weeks and months after he passed away. I mean you don't care for someone and not see the signs, see the weight loss, see the loss of will, see the pinkish color of skin slowly going Grey. That's a hard one, ya'll. A HARD ONE...
One day after daddy had gone to Heaven I woke up and didn't know where my kids were (before you call DHS-Eric knew), BUT the point is...I DIDN'T and I always know/knew where my kids are! As a matter-of-fact, I didn't know a lot of things, because I had been living, no living isn't exactly it, I had been co-existing on another level that was my own private hell. One I created and now I had to dig out of... I had been living in this self-created bubble and wouldn't allow anyone in. I even lost a friend during this period, although I wouldn't realize it for 4 more months. I guess I have to ask myself, was she really even my friend in the first place, if she could just poof! That's something I am still working on.
I decided at that point that I needed help, I knew I had not been alone through this private hell, God and Satan were dueling, each on my behalf, the question is...who would win?
I went to visit my doctor. I was a basket case. I am certain I looked and smelled like a junkie, just trying to get her next fix. I laid it all out there, told my doctor everything and I mean everything. He listened and then he said something I will never forget... He said 'I was Lucky!' Lucky to have had all that time, even the hard times with my daddy, he said my children were lucky that they got all that time with their grandpa, even if they saw him weak and sick. They were.lucky!
I had never looked at the time I spent helping and taking care of my daddy as luck or me being lucky until that moment...then I cried and I mean I truly cried for the first time since daddy had died. In that small doctors office room, I felt every single emotion come rushing forward...the pain, the hurt, the guilt, the bitterness, the shame, the anger and I let it flow.
It wasn't my mom, my BFF, my husband, my sisters, my cousins or my friends that led me to that particular moment. It was my Faith - a last chance. I was gripping and knew I needed help- because I was spiraling down and fast. Faith is what carried me through that morning in that small room when I looked up and saw a light. I saw hope. I saw that I didn't have to live like this. Maybe it was my daddy saying,"You Did Good Girl...You Did Good..." All I know is I truly cried for the first time, and I really felt for the first time.
My doctor prescribed two medications for me, I now feel like I am in the here and now and I can function on a level that I thought I would never get back to-still not my normal self but I am functioning. While every day is still a struggle-don't get me wrong the meds are working BUT it is still hard, I am slowly letting go of the guilt, the anger, and my heart is slowly being softened and that's a good thing. That is GOD not the meds... I have forgiven others and more importantly...I have forgiven myself. Each day is a choice and I have a husband and 3 wonderful children that need me. I have to first live for me so I can live for them.
I now know... GOD won the duel.
My last conversation with my daddy went like this...
me:daddy I am coming down
daddy: hurry girl,I am hungry; bring me something to eat, GINA (my daddy called me Gina), don't wait till noon
me:okay daddy I'm on my way...I LOVE YOU
daddy: yeah I love you to girl, don't wait till noon
Then as I stated above I called everyone in my family that I knew were closer than me and said..."GET TO DADDY'S NOW-HE NEEDS BREAKFAST!"
That was the last time I talked to my daddy...
The Holidays will be VERY hard for me this year...BUT I know I am NOT alone...I am NEVER alone...
Loss of a loved one is hard no matter how you slice it, but caring for a loved one and watching and knowing is something I struggle with to this day. I know I am not the only one to have ever done this, nor will I be the last. I know that there are others out there, who have lost a loved one in the blink of an eye and wish they could have 'my two years'.
Please know this post isn't about wanting or needing sympathy...this post is about loss and the erratic behavior that can over-take a person, it's about how far one can fall, it's about rock bottom...it's My story...if just one person can relate on any level...then I will know my story was worth telling...
Loss:... It's hard, BUT we can dig out. Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of time...and a little bit of faith...