Well. Today is the day I dread more than any day of the year. August 19, 2004 my father-in-law died in a work related accident. I really hate this day. It’s a reminder of his death, the aftermath, and that we will continue on without him. Of course, we feel his death all throughout the year, but this day really hurts. My husband and I were only 23 and 24 when he died. Not even married for two years. We have learned a lot about grief, loss, and life in the last ten years.
1. First and foremost, “You don’t get over it, you just make room.” It may be corny to quote “The Walking Dead” but it is the most accurate description I have come across. You never get over this, you simply learn to live with it. Some days are easier than others but you never truly get over it.
2. Life is short. One tiny slip, and it could all be over. When I got the phone call that my father-in-law was dead, my heart sank into my gut. I remember thinking, “It takes one phone call to change everything.”
3. Life can change instantly. Our life could easily be divided into before my father-in-laws death and after. In the blink of an eye. Everything changes.
4. Family doesn’t have to be blood. Death brings out the best and worst in people. The people who support you the most don’t have to be family.
5. Hard times reveal true friends. See previous
6. Grief hits you when you least expect it. We have had meltdowns after watching United 93, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings. You never know when that grief will strike you and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach like the moment you found out.
7. Time heals shit. Time heals all wounds is bullshit. A great quote I found is “They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite.” Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince.
8. Your kid’s relationship with their dead grandparent is difficult. I felt tremendous guilt that my kids never got to meet their other grandpa. But I don’t want to burden them with my loss. It’s a delicate balance between remembrance and baggage.
9. You will feel their presence. No matter your beliefs, religion, or skepticism. There will be days when you feel your loved one with you
10. Grief changes you. But know that you can move on. Don’t let yourself get stuck.