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Looking forward

Painful experiences can only make a person grow more beautiful

Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year. I have always been the kind of person that looks ahead. Looks forward. I try not to look back too much. The year 2015 was going well until I was hit by the unexpected passing of my father in December. This is the first time that I have been harshly brushed by death and I feel like I’m not handling it well. Not that there’s a “right way” to process it, but I feel like I’ve been sucker punched and the damage is permanent. It feels like I’ll never recover that part of myself because he’s gone and a part of my heart has a very sad gaping hole. Now, all I do is look back instead of forward. Back to when my dad was still around. Back to when I could still talk to him, call him, text him, cuddle with him, laugh with him. When dad was around, everything was good. That was how it had been my entire life.

In order to go forward, I know I need to deal with my grief. There are different stages of grief and I know enough to know what stages I have passed and what stage I’m in. Grief is the emotional suffering you feel when someone you love is taken away. My father was a fundamental pillar in my life so his death is one of the most significant losses I will face in my life. This means that my grief is intense, all consuming, and paralyzing. My coping mechanisms have never been challenged like this.

 

2THE FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF

1. DENIAL

When my dad first left us, I was in denial for weeks. It felt like he was away on one of his frequent business trips. In fact, to this day, it still does sometimes. At first, I wasn’t able to face the fact that I would never see him (in this existence) again. When I did allow myself to think about his passing for more than a few minutes, I would get swallowed up in a cloud of anxiety that manifested itself physically in my body.

 

2. ANGER

I’m currently in this stage, the second stage. All I think about is how unfair it is that my dad isn’t here with us. I’m angry that he was taken too soon, that my children won’t get to experience more of him and his incredible personality, that my mother is now alone and sad all the time.

 

3. BARGAINING

This stage gets people captive in the past. We are trapped by questions and thoughts of “If only…” or “What if…?” We want life to go back to the way it was before—our loved ones still with us. Right now, I flit between bargaining and anger. It’s hard not to. There are so many things you wish you                                            had done differently.

 

4. DEPRESSION

This is the stage that hurts the most. This is when you are back to living in the present. Grief is at its basest level, the sadness in its most intense. When your soul fully comprehends the loss, this is when you get very depressed.

 

5. ACCEPTANCE

This is the final stage of grief and it is when people become finally at peace with what happened. To me, this seems like a far away dream right now. I can’t imagine ever being okay with my dad being gone.

I don’t mean for this article to be sad and depressing. After all, we are at the beginning of a whole new year. It’s a new chapter that we can write. A friend told me, “Remember that souls grow more beautiful through painful experiences.” I think that is a wonderful way to look at something so sorrowful that has altered me forever. I look forward to evolving as a person as a result of losing my father. Going through the stages of grief will most definitely help me mature and living without my dearest daddy will force me to grow in ways I might not have imagined. This year isn’t starting the way I hoped but I want to be able to look forward as I always have, with light, hope, and positivity, the way my dad taught me to.

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