The sliding metal doors automatically open as soon as it detects any motion. I take one step forward. I ponder the smell of cold pizza, old skin and stale coffee. People exit the same door that I need to enter. I take one step back. I can’t do this.
But I do. I enter the hospital, knowing that my task is uncomplicated. I am giving a pep talk to myself, “This visit has nothing to do with Dad.” My trek to the hospital isn’t to visit the sick or dying, but to drop off dinner for my husband who works there almost everyday.
I really thought I was ready. It has been almost two years since I’ve walked into the corridors of a hospital. But there are so many triggers of grief in this space. The black plastic on the beds, the beeping of the monitors, and the oxygen tanks are reminders of my father’s life and his death. And to be honest, it hurts a little more now, than it did when it happened.
I don’t think people talk about this, but the second year of grief is the hardest. The first year you are consumed with tasks that involve concrete details: paying bills, going through old clothing, discarding and keeping certain items. You are fully immersed into the physical aspect of grief. You still cry in these moments, but you have a task that you need to complete, so you postpone what you are feeling.
In this second year, I sense the gravity of my father’s loss. He isn’t coming back. But what I didn’t expect was the worry that comes with losing someone. I still worry about him. Is he at peace? Is he is out of pain? I often tell my husband that I wished my father could give me a sign – anything to acknowledge that his suffering is no more. Or sometimes I wish he could just come by, pop into our house and say Hello. Of course, I know either scenario isn’t going to happen and the sadness overpowers me.
I realized that this particular sadness will always be a part of me. Perhaps one day I can move beyond the vastness of this grief, but for now, as I exit the hospital doors, I know I am not ready.
Do certain places trigger grief? Do you find it harder to deal with grief as the years move on? Do you worry about your loved ones that have passed on? How do you cope with waves of grief?