Jul 24 Sunday

Where I am…

There are five stages of grief.

To spare you the fancy terminology set forth by the explanation of the Kübler-Ross model, basically these stages of grief come in any order and can last a short time or a long time, and return at any given moment. They are like herpes, friends for life.

They read like Snow White’s dwarfy little friends on crack:

Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

Since losing my Dad so suddenly, just over 7 months ago, I have experienced anger, depression and denial. And countless other stages that should be on the ballot next time the Stages of Grief are up for election.

Truth be told, the grief still hurts. Physically, mentally, emotionally. There isn’t an hour, of any day, that goes by that I am not somehow reminded of my Dad. He weighs heavy on my mind in every single thing I do. Sometimes it’s comforting, sometimes it sends me into an anxious tail spin of emotion that takes days to climb back out of.

I spend a lot of time, a lot, at his grave site. I have full conversations with him in my head. I hear his voice. I swear I see him driving red SUV’s at the same intersection early in the morning.

Full Disclosure: I’ve mentioned a time or two on here before that I seek professional counseling. In my very humble opinion, it’s imperative. I see a counselor and a psychiatrist. Yes, two. I’s is CRAZY. One gives me constant nuggets of wisdom that assist me in processing the foreign feelings ravaging my everyday existence. One gives me drugs and good conversation. It’s that simple.

Lexapro, or some other anti-anxiety/depression medication, should be added to our water supply. The world would be a better place.

No shit.

There is no shame in saying “I can’t do this alone.” Absolutely none. I have uttered those words more times than I can count. Each time, they have empowered me to accept help. That alone is what saved me. I was losing myself.

I knew I needed to be medicated when…

– I was screaming like a lunatic, while honking and waving my fist at a guy who opened up his driver’s side window and dropped a fast food bag, AND CUP, in the middle of a parking lot. Yes, my kids were in the car. Not my finest parenting moment, although my kids are the farthest things from Litter Bugs. Silver lining people!

– I sobbed through my entire shopping trip at the grocery store where I had coffee with my dad, every weekday morning, at 6 am. I hid in the frozen food aisle to gain my composure. That was a high point, let me tell you.

– I was (again) screaming like a lunatic at the car in front of me who CLEARLY thought that the STOP sign read “Sit for 2 minutes”. Didn’t he know that Dairy Queen closed in 4 minutes and mama needed a chocolate shake? DIDN’T HE?

– I was no longer sleeping. Or writing. Or eating. It’s been awkward for friends and acquaintances the past 7 months. “You look like you’ve lost weight, what are you doing?” And I honestly respond. “Depression looks good on me.” True story. And again, awkward. Especially when it’s in the grocery store and they then glance at my cart to see 4 bottles of coffee creamer, OJ, frozen waffles and string cheese. Staples when you’re depressed. Or in med school.

This post isn’t intended to be a pity party. I want nothing more than to be honest to my readers. Although it might seem the contrary,  I am stronger than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I might linger in between the sheets for longer than usual, or go off the map for a day, or ten, or submerge myself in some random task like de-wallpapering a bathroom.

But it’s how I am surviving. My family is my safe zone and they get me through. My close circle of friends keep me on my feet. The rest, if I am up for it that day, is icing on the cake.

Grief is part of the human experience. It shapes us, whether we like it or not, into the people we need to be. I choose to take it for what it is, a beautiful reminder of life’s small pleasures.

And every morning I read the plaque hanging in my kitchen that reads:

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

It’s so ridiculously true.

 

  • Posted By: Vickie Weuve

    Katy,

    What a wonderful post. And by that, I mean, you wrote from the heart, and shared the raw emotions that come with grieving the lost of a loved one. Everything you have shared about your experience, is true. I have been there. It’s like being on an emotional roller coaster, not to mention you never know when those really hard grief moments are going to hit, and hit you they do – smack, square in the face and often in the most unexpected places.

    When my Dad died several years ago, it literally knocked the wind out of me and sent me into a downward spiral. My world as I had known it, was suddenly turned upside down and inside out. I understand and feel your pain. I did not know your Dad, but his death impacted me in unexpected ways. My Dad died of a massive heart attack at home. I had seen him five days before. There were many similarities in our Dad’s passing, and I think in the type of men there were in life. I had sat next to your Dad and Mom at the Regina school program only days before your Dad’s tragic accident.

    The most shocking part of my grief journey was, inspite of my nine years of hospice work with bereaved individuals, it was as if I knew nothing when it came to coping with my own personal loss. Counseling is good! One of the best things I did for myself was attend a support group. Being a private person, that was not an easy decision, but the best decision I made for myself.

    It’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling on any given day. Your feelings are your feelings, and you have the right to journey through your grief in a way that works for you. Some may tell you, or expect you to ‘get over your loss’. Those are the people who have never experienced the loss of someone close to them.

    Memories are good, and help ease the pain of our loss. Thanks again for sharing a most personal part of yourself in the midst of grasping the reality of your loss.

    Vickie

    Here’s what I know about grief. It’s a never-ending journey that with time, the pain of the loss lessens, but never completely goes away. We just learn how to live without that person in our life, which is extremely difficult. During your journey you will learn who your support network is and who you can count on.

  • Posted By: Gina

    I have this same thing in my kitchen!It’s my mantra for life as it is so short.
    Just the other day someone asked me what I would do if I could have my Dad back for one day? Answer:Sit on our deck and chat with a beverage and watch Miss P. ride her bike or jump on the trampoline.Keep on doing what you are doing.Getting over a loss never really happens.My Dad, it has been 3 yrs..my Mom and the love of my Dad’s life..30yrs….you never stop grieving…you just do it differently as the years pass…nothing wrong with that..:)

    Hugs,

    Gina

  • Posted By: Kirsten

    Katy, I constantly am amazed and impressed by your genuine honesty …with yourself and with your readers. The world would be a MUCH better place if everyone could admit out loud that life is hard, that they are struggling, and that they can’t do it alone. I think the reality is…none of us can! Be kind to yourself. HUGS!

  • Posted By: Melinda

    Everything you said is so true! Your words should remind everyone that we should never take anything for granted. It also reminds us that it is okay to have a “less than perfect day” and not beat ourselves up. Thankfully family and dear friends are always there to pick us up if needed. xoxo Melinda

  • Posted By: Hillary

    A sad, but a therapeutic post. I think you are doing a great job with dealing with your loss. I say this because, being able to admit what you are feeling and why, knowing your limitations as a person (and knowing that it’s completely acceptable) is the largest part of the struggle. Sending lots of positive energy your way! XOXO

  • Posted By: Molly

    What a beautiful post, Katy. Thank you for always being SO REAL. We love you!

  • Posted By: Amy

    As I approach the 6 year mark without my Mother I can tell you that I have experienced all of the above and more. I have hit 4 of the 5 stages (acceptance may never happen) and could not live without my medication or my therapist. They are both true angels from God that allow me to be a better Mommy every day. In fact they keep me from wanting to physically harm most of the people I encounter on a daily basis. This was a perfect post at a perfect time for me. Thank you…because it is always good, even in bad circumstances, to know that we are not alone.

  • Posted By: Sara in The MN

    Love you Katy – Your honesty is beautiful We all need a reminder to slow down and enjoy LIFE, while we are living it. Kiss your beautiful babies and never let them forget the man who raised you and helped make you the wonderful Katy we all know and love.

  • Posted By: Vickie from Kansas

    Great post! having lost my Father 15 yrs ago I can still relate to those raw feelings. Wish I would have had this post to read then. All I can say now (with so much time gone by) is Time will never heal the wound but it will make those moments when you remember him comforting and happy without the sadness of grief. Daddy’s are a true gift to their girls!

  • Posted By: Kate

    I came across your blog yesterday while looking for a recipe for cheeseburger soup.

    My dad died suddenly almost four years ago so I can definitely relate to the feelings you describe. And YES, I think counseling is so important! It has been HUGE in my life.

    And I totally know what you mean about the little things setting you off like when you were at the grocery store!! After I saw the Planet of the Apes prequel last fall I cried for 45 minutes because I had seen the other two Planet of the Apes movies with my dad.

    Thanks for being so honest in your writing!

  • Posted By: Eel

    What a plrsauee to meet someone who thinks so clearly

  • Posted By: mail order abilify

    That’s not even 10 minutes well spent!