Four Weeks and Counting

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." --C.S. Lewis 

A few hours after the medical examiner wheeled my dad's body out of his apartment, I was talking to my sister on the phone and she asked me if I had cried yet. "No," I answered. "Why not?," she replied. "Because I was prepared for this moment." After my dad was diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago, I started mentally readying myself for the day I'd have to say "goodbye." After the ME's van pulled away, we went into full funeral planning mode. The stress of planning an entire funeral service seemed to have caused the reality of the situation to not fully register. Now, the funeral is over. The apartment has been cleaned out. And as today marks four weeks since I received the call that changed my life, I'm starting to realize that I may not have been as prepared as I thought I was.

At almost 30-years-old, I've been through so much that even the worse news can't bring me to tears.  When I broke the news to my mom, I tried to cry, but for some reason it just couldn't come out. I even had to fake a crackle in my voice. As my sister and I watched the body bag be loaded in the van, she sobbed openly and stared blankly into the sky. I just stood there. At the funeral, tears flowed from my siblings eyes, meanwhile, I spent my time trying to keep them calm. At the luncheon afterwards, my mom asked me if I was ok and I said I was. She asked again to be sure. At this point I was so annoyed with everyone questioning me on my mental state, I just wanted to lock myself in a room to avoid it.

As the days and the weeks went by, I continued thinking I was handling the grief well. I wasn't feeling depressed; I was going to class; I wasn't isolating myself from the world, etc. My mom pointed out things that said otherwise: starting my days with rum mixed with lemonade, for instance. The fact that I'd ballooned 10 pounds in the span of two weeks was another sign. As the weeks have ticked by, I can't help but wonder if dealing with the grief will continue to get harder instead of easier.

I never really thought of grief feeling like fear until I read the quote from C.S. Lewis. Is it a fear of having to accept the reality that a person I love is gone? Is it a fear of knowing that at some point I'll have lost both my parents? Is it a fear of coming to terms with my own mortality? It could take years before I have answers to these questions. In the meantime, I have to learn to adjust to life without my dad.

Four weeks and counting.......

My dad and I

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