Dear @Kat, thank you for sharing your story with us here on the forums. Our hearts go out to you for the loss of your dad so suddenly. It’s been a week since you last posted so we’re reaching out to show our unconditional support and see what’s happening for you this week.
The way you describe your thoughts and feelings – coming in and out of accepting the reality of the loss is something we often see at this early stage of the grief process. It’s our mind and body’s way of protecting us as we build strength and coping strategies to face the loss in its entirety.
The unexpected loss of a loved one can be particularly difficult to accept and almost incomprehensible when it’s not in line with our expectations…we assume that our parents will outlive our grandparents, that your Dad will be there for your wedding and to watch your beautiful boys grow up. When expectations like these are dashed we refer to it as ‘shattered assumptions’. Not only have you lost your Dad but also the dreams and expectations you had of your future together. Our ‘assumptive world’ gives us a feeling of predictability, safety, and stability in our daily lives but life-changing events like the sudden loss of a parent can leave us feeling extremely vulnerable and unsafe – giving you that feeling that everything is ‘out of your control’.
As strange as it may sound and as painful as it is, grief is actually the process we have to go through to revise our assumptive world so that we can feel safe and functional again. Basically, we need to let our grief unfold so that we can rebuild our world in a way that makes sense of the loss. With the help of coping strategies and lots of support, we start to redefine ourselves and how we interact with the world.
One of the most effective coping strategies is social support. From your post, it appears you have a beautiful and understanding bond with your grandmother however you are selflessly putting her grief ahead of yours right now. You also mention that you have a good support network of friends who you would usually turn to but feel like it’s ‘pointless’ talking to them. We’re wondering if there might be certain friends who might be more helpful thank you think? Lots of bereaved people fear that their friends or family members might be pushy, give unwanted or silly advice. We often have fairly high expectations of them, but it can be more beneficial to go ahead and accept their help rather than assume they don’t get it. Perhaps think about those friends you respect or have also lost a loved one – the ones you feel on equal terms with – this can make sharing your experience much easier.
And if there are friends that you’d definitely prefer not to discuss it with perhaps ask them for helpful and useful support instead…something to take the pressure off looking after a family while you’re going through this intense grief. Maybe someone can help with chores or errands. It’s very likely your friends really want to help and this gives them the opportunity to support you in some way.
From the way you describe your thoughts about your Dad’s passing, it sounds like you’re quite a visual person. These confronting thoughts and the images in your mind can be very difficult to cope with. We often suggest a ‘sending loving-kindness’ meditation when this happens – where you shift your confronting thoughts to sending love instead. It can be something like this; say to your Dad “I’m sending you love. I’m surrounding you with love” and repeat it over and over. This also helps to keep the bond with your Dad strong – because that can never be broken.
@Kat we hope this information and these tips are helpful in some way and we would love to hear from you again. We are here for you. 🌸