Today I wanted to write an article that is very close to my heart and although personal, it’s an experience that although everyone has to go through as death is apart of life, it really is a surreal thing and it does actually really change you as a person.
This year I lost my Dad, sometimes it’s normal and I have accepted it, other times it fuels me, other times I just can’t seem to get my head around the fact that he isn’t here anymore.
Death and grieving is a really surreal experience. I live away from home, so after quite some time, I took time off to visit home for a week in March. When I got home, my mum told me that recently they found out my Dad had got cancer but that it was very small and not hugely life-threatening. He just got into hospital as he had broken his arm and it was such a shock to see him, the last time I saw him he was his old healthy self, but little did I know what was going to come.
Over the next week, he had an operation which was supposedly going to make his stomach a lot better, but after that, he wasn’t the same. The doctor was undecided whether this operation during the week was going to go ahead so I was really not aware this was serious, then when I came into the hospital the next day they said they decided to operate and he would be out in a couple of hours. I had no idea that it was such a life-threatening procedure and was not prepared for this at all. When I left, he was asleep and I thought I would let him rest and come back in the morning again. That night around 10 pm the hospital called us and said we need to come in immediately. The doctor said he might not make it as he got sepsis after the operation and his body wasn’t functioning properly, they called the priest to come in and it was really crazy to look at my Dad and think he is not going to wake up now. I really couldn’t believe it. Less than 24 hours before we were together talking and listening to music.
After this moment that I thought I would lose him but he fought through. A couple of days later, he was still very very sick and barely awake, then the doctor told me he had about 3 days to live. It yet again was another shock and I hung on to every moment in the hospital with him. However, a miracle did happen and after a week or so, he started to become more awake again. I started to become really positive and thought that he might pull through. He stayed with us for another 7 weeks and although it was so hard to see someone you love die, I try and look on the good side and say that I am so lucky that I got to be with him for his last weeks of life. Each day was like a roller coaster, because although I kept hoping he would get better, deep down I was filled with dread each second that it could happen at any time. Although you are aware it can happen, it still doesn’t make it any easier when he did pass, even after all of the “3 days left” shockers. The whole experience of losing someone close to you is very very surreal. It’s a different experience for everyone. But people who are grieving do so in different ways. I feel for anyone who is going through grief and I really do pray that they look after themselves and take as much care for themselves as they can. If you know anyone who is grieving, just be kind, its a different healing process for everyone, but they just need love.
You Start To Think Deeper About Life
It just really made me think and feel so differently. Grief is such a painful experience but now, I feel like I have some deeper meaning to life. It made me deeply question the cycle of life and why we are all here. We are all just passing through our time on earth and I feel like what we contribute to the world is all that matters. It’s not about what I want, it’s about what is meant for me and sharing what I can from my heart with the world. So I could have gone either way, it could have made me feel really bitter and angry, which at one point I did get like, but my Dad put it into perspective for me, when he heard me getting upset he told me “Christina please always be kind, don’t be angry, always be a nice person.” I took that away with me for life.
You Never Know How You Will Feel
When you go through something like this you don’t really know what your supposed to do. Because for me, I wasn’t crying around people or talking about it as I didn’t want to burden anyone. You would think I was normal. In fact during the time in the hospital, I become so obsessed and absorbed in working you would have thought I was perfectly fine. I think I must have completed 100 online courses during this time. Maybe it was just a distraction or a protection mechanism, but isn’t it crazy how each person experiences grief in a different way? But I felt this huge sense of urgency to accomplish something so I can look after my Mum now.
Sometimes Life Doesn’t Feel Real
After the 7 weeks, I had to fly back for work. I remember I wasn’t really there and it’s like my mind had shut down a bit. I found it really difficult to go out, being in loud noises felt really loud and uncomfortable. I found it difficult to sleep and I would wake up every day thinking about death. Then I would go into a crazy obsessive work mode and started to feel guilty about having any fun. Luckily, because I had done so much work on my mindset and had a deeper sense of purpose, I realized that I did need to speak and get help so I really tried to calm myself and seek help for healing. Thing such as calming exercises, yoga, breathing exercises, runs. My coach (Holly Matthews) the support she gave me during that time played such a heavy part in my life, not only helped me see clearer but also guided me in the right direction when I wasn’t able to function properly. (Thankyou Holly!)
The People You Surround Yourself With Are The Most Important
What I am grateful for is the people I had around me during this time.The love my friends and family gave really really give me strength. My best friend Salma, she kept me uplifted without even saying anything and always kept me doing fun things without even asking me or making me realize I was doing it. That is the type of person you need to be around, someone who really loves and cares for you and makes you laugh and you feel comfortable around, having this half away across the world is such a blessing and I am forever grateful. Going through this experience made me realize even more that it’s the people and connection you have, that is the most important thing in life.
Your Perspective Of Life Changes
Although going through this experience was unbearingly painful and heartbreaking, death is apart of life and if you are dealing with grief, do everything that you need to to help yourself. Focus on healing, let it all out, don’t hold it in, ask for help if you need it, talk to someone, anyone. Go for coffee, be around people. Just make sure that you look after yourself and stay as calm as you can. It’s not a matter of “life goes on” but whilst we are alive, we need to live and cherish each moment. Seeing somene die really shook me to think we are not going to be here forever.
I joined an NLP Program in Dubai and in one of the sessions Dr Noris did a coaching session with me and she really helped me disassociate myself with the feelings of guilt and hurt and made me realise those emotions do not define me and that its ok for me to feel whatever I feel and whenever I do, just accept how im feeling and embrace it.
You Want To Do Things You Love
One thing that helped me, was expressing myself through my passions, it really did save me. This is my favourite quote from Les Brown:
“Imagine if you will being on your death bed – And standing around your bed – the ghosts of the ideas, the dreams, the abilities, the talents given to you by life. And that you for whatever reason, you never acted on those ideas, you never pursued that dream, you never used those talents, we never saw your leadership, you never used your voice, you never wrote that book. And there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes saying we came to you, and only you could have given us life! Now we must die with you forever. The question is – if you die today what ideas, what dreams, what abilities, what talents, what gifts, would die with you? “
You Stop Caring
You stop caring about things that are not important and don’t need to be stressed about. You learn to forgive and realise the importance of forgiveness and how you have to forgive yourself and others in order to find inner peace.
Your Relationships Change
You change as a person because your relationships change. For me I realised who is important and who isnt, I cherish the important people 1000x even more and I don’t waste time on people who don’t care or try and bring stress into my life. Once you lose someone you love, you are not really scared about losing anyone who doesnt make you feel good anymore.
You Become A New Person
You become a new person because grief is not something you accomplish or need to push through to go back to yourself, it grows you and becomes apart of you. It changes your motivation, it changes your perspective. You see things differently and you find a new definition of yourself.
If you are going through grief and know someone who is, please look after yourself and look after them, it’s ok to feel however you want to feel. It’s not to be suppressed but to be released, even writing this article helped me.
Thank you for reading.