LOSING A PARENT OR LOVED ONE
My father Wesley Greig passed away in May of 2012, to cancer, it was his second time battling the disease. Cancer is a terrible word to me. I wish cancer was non-existent. Unfortunately, it is real. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure. The pain and anguish feel like they are going to crush your everything. I didn’t know what to do, I had never lost someone so close to me in my entire life. Do you know how it feels to lose a parent or someone really close?
5 STAGES OF THE GRIEVING PROCESS
Many people say there are 5 stages in the grieving process. I experienced them all but in a different way.
This was the second time my father had battled cancer so somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought “It’s OK he has beaten this before, everything will be OK” but it wasn’t, this time it was different.
I got angry at my dad. So angry. How could he not take care of himself? how could he just leave us like this? I also got angry with myself, I was angry that I didn’t know my dad better. When my dad was in the hospital he was asked “is there anywhere you want to see just one last time?” he said no. I didn’t know then that he had always dreamed about visiting Australia. I didn’t know. So how can he not want to see anything just one last time, was all I could think? It is your last time. I think he was just very tired.
I wished, I hoped and I prayed, I just wanted to believe that my dad would be OK. At the time I didn’t have much faith so I bargained with my self. I will do my best to get healthy so I don’t leave my children in the same place. If I do better he might get better, he has to get better. He didn’t get better.
I was so depressed, so upset. Why him? why me? I will never get to see him again just pictures, a ghost of his true self. Memories, just memories, memories I didn’t truly understand. Then I realized that memories are what are most important, remembering the good times past, the fun times and not the bad times ahead. So, grief-stricken, I created a Facebook page dedicated solely to Cherishing A Life And Not Mourning A Death. My dads first-ever Facebook page, I cried uncontrollably during this process. I thought this would help me with my acceptance, mostly it helped with my depression, as I was able to see the many posts made by friends and family, I finally learned just how loved and respected my dad was. How much he made a difference in peoples lives. I cried a lot!
I think the first stages of acceptance came after my fathers funeral. I’ve never had to endure something as heartbreaking as, after everything, seeing him without that spark of life. That wonderful life that ended way before its time.
My dad was a hardworking man who did everything he could to make our lives better. There were really good times but there were also really bad times. He was our father. I would do anything I could to bring him back. There is just no will strong enough to change the way of life.
HELP FOR THE GRIEVING
I have a friend who has recently experienced the loss of a loved one. I thought I knew how she felt, I got this (I said to myself), but then I realized I didn’t. People grieve differently. I suddenly felt helpless. I wanted to try to cheer her up but I quickly saw that maybe that’s not what she needs.
EVERYONE NEEDS TIME
Time heals everything. How much time is the question? Some people need more than others. Just remember it can be scary or frustrating but every grieving person needs someone, especially someone who is ready to not judge them.
5 STAGES OF THE GRIEVING PROCESS
Recognizing the 5 stages of the grieving process from above and realizing everyone goes through them differently, sometimes repeating stages is most important. The more familiar you are with these stages the better equipped you will be in helping your friends.
EVERYONE GRIEVES DIFFERENTLY
Some people are more resilient than others. You have to take into account the cause and length of time, before death. What your friend has experienced in the past. Their relationship to the loved one as well as the size of their support network. Make sure they know that you understand their individual needs.
ITS HARD NOT TO TELL THEM THEY ARE STRONG BUT NO MATTER WHAT, DO NOT
Your friend may seem strong on the outside but they may be broken down on the inside but that’s alright. It’s OK to be human and vulnerable. Everyone is human, it’s OK to cry. That is how we deal with loss emotionally. Letting it out is better than locking it up.
MEMORIALIZING CAN HELP
Tree plantings, memorial services, writing letters, creating a Facebook page, remembrance gatherings as well as funerals are some of the best ways to memorialize. Keeping the good memories alive.
ASK THEM WHAT THEY NEED
Although they may not know right away, don’t get frustrated. Just make sure they know you will be there wherever and whenever they think of something they need. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t need help right away, they will need something eventually just try your best to be there when they need you.
BE HONEST SHOW THEM YOU CARE
Just checking in from time to time can show a person you really care. Having someone really care can be one of the best supports in the grieving process. Even if it’s just a quick “how are you doing today?” text or phone call. Just let your friend know you will always be there.
WAYS TO SHOW YOU CARE
Recently a new family member told me that a good way of showing you are there for your friend, is just by stopping by with a coffee or muffin and saying, how are you doing? This is a very powerful act. This could help them see how much you really care.
HELP IS JUST A PHONE CALL AWAY
In my area, there are supports set up for just this reason or any other problem you might be having. So if you think you are in a mental health crisis or just need to talk, help is just a click or phone call away peel/Dufferin county crisis helpline Get Online Help Now>> or call 1-888-811-2222 open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, cause you are not alone. Talking can help.
WHATEVER MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Sometimes even the simplest of things can make a difference. Just before my dad passed away, my talented uncle Monty, wrote a song for him called In My Arms Again>> Get it on iTunes. I think it gave me another way of feeling the emotions that I really needed to feel and just helped let it all out. I can listen to this song over and over again. You can preview this song and more on the album I’m Gonna Live Until I Die>> Available on iTunes
Feel free to post any questions or comments below. Thanks,