Loss and grief are colossal mind games.
That’s the nicest way to put that and certainly not the phrase in my head right now when trying to describe just where my head has been for the past week or two. I consider myself a pretty intellectual, rational person, so I’ve been kind of caught off guard by just how Daddy’s death has affected me.
No one tells you it’ll be like this. And the truth is that no one can.
They can tell you that it’ll get better. That grieving takes time. That it’s a process. But no one can really prepare you for what happens when the steps of that process happen all at the same time or change minute by minute.
No one can really explain just how differently your world will look despite the fact that it mostly looks exactly the same. To everyone who sees me, even people who don’t know me, I look perfectly normal. Nothing about me says “I’m grieving!”
But I feel like I’m radiating it and no one sees it.
And that’s the funny thing about this to me. And also the thing that is the hardest to deal with. The thing that hurts the most.
My day-to-day existence isn’t much different from how it was before, but my world feels slightly off-kilter. Just a little out of balance. Things look a little fuzzy. Not quite right in that I-just-can’t-put-my-finger-on-it sort of way that life is capable of feeling sometimes.
I want to run around shouting “CAN’T YOU SEE THIS?”
The truth is that my life is irrevocably different now. Altered forever. My perceptions of family have shifted. And in a lot of ways I’m afraid. And angry. And I feel invisible.
The married adult children don’t seem to be the ones on people’s radar when someone dies. Concern goes to the widow. To the under-18 children. But those of us with lives, with children and families of our own, fall somewhere outside the spectrum of those we must take care of.
“Oh, they’re adult people! They have families of their own to think about! They’re good. Probably.”
But the truth is that the loss of a parent affects you no matter what age you happen to be when that parent dies. And I’m not saying anyone overtly has the thought that because I’m a 30-something with children of my own I’m not deserving of concern because I must have things under control, but it has very often felt like that in the aftermath of Daddy’s death.
Or maybe it’s because I was his step-child to everyone else but him. Maybe they looked at me and saw “other.” Maybe they really didn’t have a clue who I was and so my hurt wasn’t as important.
I do have people in my life who know that I’m hurting and grieving this loss, but for the most part, this is kind of a silent sort of pain.
But I do hurt. And I’m angry that I can’t just sort of wallow in that hurt for a little bit. That the proverbial show must go on. That there are still a million and one normal life things that have to happen. That can’t stop happening just because my Daddy died.
Dishes. Laundry. Cooking. Child-rearing. Bills. Preschool drop-off and pick-up. Snuggling. Bath time. Bed time. All of it has to keep going except now it all looks different to me somehow. It feels different.
I wasn’t prepared for life to feel so different.
I wasn’t prepared for life to be so different.