I am on day 959 not long before I reach 1,000 days after becoming an adult orphan and being without my amazing Dad.
Still incomprehensible that I have survived his death but I have thus far. Not a long time in the scheme of things compared to the decades I had with my Dad.
My father used to say a new business needs 1,000 days to breakeven. That is not making profit but just getting to the point of breaking even. I use the same analogy with my life. I set myself the challenge of reaching 1,000 days with a sense of being able to cope with life.
I still feel no joy but I am managing much better that’s for sure. I have blocked the very dark days from my memory. Occasionally, when I remember those days I realise how deep my pain was. My sole purpose now is to motivate myself to get through one moment at a time I still cannot think too far ahead and that suits me.
I have gone from experiencing the raw grief to knowing I am stronger than I thought I was. So many have made the same journey so I am not unique by any means but my journey is unique to me. My journey of grief and growth is a reflection of the beautiful relationship I still have with my Dad.
When I reflect on life since my Dad’s passing I know I have reached a point of equanimity. I have noticed a small shift inside me. This year I began to pay more attention to my well being. I have embraced my father’s hobby of walking daily which has had many benefits. My fitness has improved and so has my mood. Most importantly I am able to cope with the day to day challenges.
My primary aim is to please me that’s not being selfish but it is being respectful to myself. I heard you cannot live a brave life without disappointing some people. My invincibility has returned I care about what I think.
The journey of grief though the most difficult phase of my very privileged life has been a blessing. I have changed a little inside out but am still work in progress. I know I am better than I used to be.
I appreciate everyday ‘small’ things like the smiling rose in our garden planted by my father, the row of grand old trees on my route to work majestically waiting for me each morning and a stranger’s smile. Life is a divine gift and we are all intended to be here.
At work I believe I have more empathy for my clients my emotional intelligence is better than before and I am very grateful to every single soul who walked in to my life to help me get up from the floor in some shape or form. Some were genuine friends and some were my teachers but every single one of them helped me grow.
When I walked away from my profession to care for my Dad I was quietly confident I would be able to pick up where I left. I am grateful to be back with my ‘old’ law firm and back to being a Partner again. My firm, work, clients and great colleagues have been a saviour. I cannot emphasis how very important it has been to be busy and to have a structure. To anyone going through this journey I would say if you can cope resume work of some kind. It helps to help others and it helps to keep busy.
My friends some new some old have walked with me on and off. I will always be grateful to all these kind souls for giving me their time and patience. For seeing me cry and for listening to me. For sharing some of my highs and lows along the way.
To sum up this journey thus far
I’ve wailed, cried, crumbled, struggled and withered. I read and wrote reams of pages. I’ve analysed and rationalised only to let go with the flow.
Then I’ve walked, worked, run and here I am standing tall. Aware and a little enlightened by this journey.
I will end this note on what does make my heart sing which rarely does happen. A few days ago I met a gentleman from Toronto he knew my Dad from his University days. I had heard so much about this gentleman from my Dad. When I met him for the first time because the last time he saw me I was a toddler he said amazingly kind things about my Dad. Most of all he said he saw a bit of my father’s determination in me. That was divine to hear. I hope I can live up to being my father’s legacy.
To those experiencing the loss of a significant person I say have faith in yourself and the creator. We have the choice of staying as a caterpillar or aspiring to transform into a butterfly. Hold your nerve and don’t give up.
Peace be with you.