Tag Archives: Father’s Day

What I’ve learnt on my journey with grief

Grief journey

I have had several losses in my life and been through different journeys with grief. When grief first entered into my life,  it would have been helpful if someone explained the stages of grief to me.  It would’ve been good if someone just told me that grief was normal. I was doing alright. It was ok to feel all those bad feelings. I had to feel them. I tried to ignore them but i needed to go through them all – bad and good. Grief comes with no timetable. It differs from person to person. You have to be patient, and allow the journey unfold and go in whatever direction it takes you. 

So what did I learn from my journey with grief?

I learnt about myself and I changed. For the better. I’ve become empathetic and kinder. I learnt that as hard as it gets, it does get easier. You don’t forget but you do learn to live with the pain.

What are my tips to help others who are grieving? Here are a few points, I think are useful for anyone experiencing grief.

1. Walking

It saved me. I walked for miles. It was a time when I really let you in grief. I cried, I shouted. Every step helped. It got me out of the house and gave me exercise. It allowed me to be myself. Sometimes I stomped. Eventually my step came lighter. I now take this lesson into my work by offering walk/talk therapy.

2. Writing.

When I worked overseas, I wrote to a family member. Each evening I wrote for 10 minutes or so. At the time, I did not realise how therapeutic this was. Evenutally I turned this to writing to the deceased. When I felt lonely. I wrote and told them. It allowed me to share my feelings – anger one day, sadness the next. It helped me recognise what I was feeling. Knowing what I was feeling helped me feel better equipped to deal with the various feelings, especially through the depression stage.

3. Allow yourself to grieve.

I stayed in the numbness stage and managed to supress those feelings. I became an expert at burying them. I do wonder if I accepted those feelings sooner, perhaps I would’ve moved on quicker. It is important to acknowledge the pain. This will be the start of the healing process. It is good to read around and gain some understanding of the grieving cycle.

4. Lean on friends and family.

Friends were there to help. I rejected most help. You think they will be bored with your story but they are not. Embarrassment kept me to keep things to myself. If only I told some of the friends how lost I felt and how I was feeling. I had a lot of expectations from them without telling them what I really wanted from them. If you experience a traumatic death as we did as a family. Talk. Share. Work through that trauma together. Stop thinking you must protect each other.

5. Seek support.

Find a therapist. Counselling what helped me through the depression. Counselling helped me work through the intense emotions and identify the barriers to my grief. It also helped me learn how I react to my emotions.

6. Take care of yourself.

I was bad at this. I did not eat and as a result I had no energy. At times I became lethargic and those were the days when it was easy to do nothing. I slept the day away. I did not go out and hid away from people. I lost my confidence and self-esteem. Arrange times to meet up with friends.

7. Plan for the triggers.

Birthday’s, anniversaries, Christmas, Mother/Father day etc They are all triggers. Often the lead up to them are worse than the actual days. Each year it can still be painful but careful planning does help. You can find out more information here.

 

 

Absent Fathers

Father’s Day can be a special day for many families. My children eagerly made their Dad a card and went to bed excited at waking him their Dad up tomorrow morning. However, a bushy eyed child is not what all Dads will be facing on Father’s Day. A lot of Fathers will be painfully reminded of their child they have lost or no longer have access too. Additionally other children, young and old, have the reminder that their dead dad is not there. Death itself can be seen as a freedom but being left behind with your grief and loss is difficult. It’s a long painful journey and some days are harder than others. Father’s Day can be a difficult day as it just reminds you of your loss. While some people are grabbing their cards and gifts you are left wondering how you will cope with your grief.

Ignoring Father’s Day often feels like the easiest thing to do yet sometimes it is not as difficult as you think. So what can you do? Some people are comforted by being with their family and having a special meal.  Some prefer to be on their own but rather than spending it in bed, try to make a plan for the day.  The anticipation can be worse than the day itself. Focusing on your Dad’s life and what he means to you might bring up good memories. You could visit his favourite spot or listen to music that he loved.

A useful tool I use with my clients who are grieving over the death of their Father is a ‘Dad box’. You put small reminders of your Dad in a memory box. Some clients don’t look into it for years whereas others get it on difficult days like Father’s Day. Some have described the box as a handy receptacle for all sorts of feelings. When they are feeling low they open it up and allow their feelings to be released.

Being without your Dad on Father’s Day is difficult time. If you hold onto hope it is possible. If you do feel at breaking point and cannot cope with your grief on Father’s Day then you can ring The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. For further information on grief look Cruse’s website.  The site gives further explanation of the grief and how to cope with bereavement. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you may find that talking to someone can help.  I

Hazel provides counselling in Sheffield and South Yorkshire or via email, skype or instant messaging. Contact me her at counselling@inyourcommunity.org.uk for more information.