Grief in the Season of Joy, Part II.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my perception of grief. I have experienced a fair share of loss and so I thought I knew.

It felt like my experience was a bullet on a resume.

 

Lauren Kaneko-Jones, Licensed Acupuncturist, Health Coach, Sensitive Human

Life experience:

  • grief, the losing of people I have loved, the knowing how to survive, I’m qualified
  • when it happens to you, I can help you.
  • when it happens to me, don’t worry, I got things covered.

 

I thought the knowing-how-loss-works could prepare and protect me. My qualifications would make me immune to the pain. In fact, I was EXTRA prepared for this loss! My dad’s mortality previewed when I was seven years old with a major heart attack in a third world country.
He was so lucky to survive!
We were so lucky he survived!

However the manic feelings of being lucky don't spare the pain of a loss when it happens. 

Ever since my dad's first heart attack I have prepared myself.
‘Dad might not be at my wedding.
Dad might not know my kids.
I am lucky, he is lucky, we are lucky.’

What I was really trying for was,
‘I will be ok,
we will be ok,
this will not hurt me,
this will not be hard,
I was ready, he was ready, we were ready.’

Yet even with all the trying and the aim to escape the grief of my dad's death, what happened was something more like this,
'Dad's death was beautiful.
He was so lucky to die quickly.
We are so lucky he didn't suffer.
Dad's not going to be at my wedding.
Dad's not going to know my kids...
I am... so not ok.'

The holding on to the feelings of 'being lucky' was an optimism that could only go so far. There were only so many words of comfort. Beneath all the attempts to be ok, was deep love and grief.

My luck that my dad survived 24 more years beyond the first heart attack was something I held onto tightly. Somehow, throughout those 24 more years, I thought it would make losing him a bit softer.

I assumed (in hindsight maybe it was sheer hope) that grief’s pain would elude me. Because, hopefully we lose our parents and they don’t lose us. It’s the natural order. And yet, it feels like the worst thing that ever happened.

 Image Credit: Faces and Voices of Recovery

Image Credit: Faces and Voices of Recovery