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?
It does come in waves, doesn’t it? I’m sorry.
It does. I appreciate your condolences.
I am sorry. Hugs to you.
Thanks for the hugs.
Surely Time will help some, but I can only imagine that it “coming in waves” is an accurate statement. I’m proud if you for letting those doors slide open for you though.
I appreciate the encouraging words. Love you for being so supportive.
What a painful and honest post, Rudri. I’m sorry you are feeling this way, and I hope that mixed in with the grief are many good memories.
I have lost people I love, some in ways that are complex, so processing the loss is tinged with anger as well as sadness. I find that over the years, sometimes these individuals come to me in dreams. I may have conversations with them, or just sit with them. Once, I was able to actually hold my unborn child, and then take his hand as he grew into a toddler. I can’t tell you the kind of peacefulness that gave me, so many years later.
I don’t know that we ever fully stop grieving. But I also know I see my father’s face in my elder son, and it’s glorious. I can love them both then, and while missing my dad hurts, seeing him in his grandson is a gift.
BLW, wise words, my friend. I need to remember that my Dad’s presence is here and I have to be open to embracing it in my own daughter and the people that he loved. I appreciate your sentiment.
I am so, so sorry. Life’s circle is such a wonderful, terrible thing. *hugs*
Thanks for your hug.
I haven’t thought of the second year this way, perhaps because I’ve not lost someone as close to me as a parent or sibling. I did lose a best friend when I was 17 and I still get overwhelmed by sadness at times. I know it’s not the same, but it feels like a punch in the gut all the same.
I just take the time to sit and think about her, remember our antics and her smile and how her friendship came right when I needed it. Thinking about her now makes my heart both heavy and happy.
I need to remember more of the good moments. Haven’t been doing that as much as I should and so thanks for the reminder. I think it is essential in the healing process.
Oh Rudri, I feel for you. Healing from a loss such as losing a loved one takes a long time. I can honestly say that after two and a half decades, I have healed from losing my father but the hole never ever goes away.
I have to chime in on BLW’s comment. I agree that sometimes, I feel like these people whom I’ve lost come to me in a dream, letting me know they are okay. It sounds strange but such has been my experience as well.
I will be waiting for that dream. Thanks for your words Belinda.
Oh Rudri, I’m so sorry. Your pain is understandably raw. Learning to live without a loved one is the hardest part. Things are never the same, but I truly hope you can find the peace you deserve. I’m sure your father would want that.
You are right Christine. I don’t think my father wanted me to dwell on his absence. I just wish there was some way he could tell me that in person.
Rudri, I’ve not suffered a loss of this magnitude so apart from saying I’m really sorry you have to go through this, I am at a loss for words. In time the pain will subside and you will heal, but I rather imagine, it will never really go away. It’s a lot for anyone to have to endure. Again, I am sorry.
Thanks for your thoughtful words.
You have really poured your heart out here and I felt the emotion in every word. I have not as an adult lost anyone really close to me so cannot really appreciate how hard it is to deal with. All I can say is do as you are doing, feel the grief, don’t try and lock it away as therein lies the road to never healing.
Accepting and embracing the grief is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Just when I think I am getting better at it, I take a few steps backward.
Oh, yes – certain places, certain times, certain scenes and sounds, certain times of year. There are places I may never go back to, that I’d rather hold in my memory than confront in the present. I swallow and breathe, and usually look up for a moment or two. I wish, but I don’t worry. I hope that soon, you won’t either.
Poignant words Leslie. Thank you – you described that feeling perfectly.
I can only imagine the immense pain you are feeling, that little black hole in your heart in which you yearn to see your father again. I hope that in some way, writing this eases that pain for just a minute.
Amber: Writing does help. Somehow, in certain moments, I want the grieving to be over. But unfortunately I don’t think that will ever happen.
Just wanted to send you a hug.
Thanks for the hug.
I am so sorry. I wish I could offer more comforting words or experience but I too haven’t yet experienced loss of this magnitude. Your post is very poignant and I can only imagine that grief is something that evolves and takes different shapes over the years, but probably never goes away completely. You simply learn to make your own peace with it. I was touched by the fact that you continue to think and worry about your father. I hope too that this is something you and your family talks about openly and that you can find support by sharing and writing about it.
I appreciate your kind words. I am learning to make peace with my grief everyday.
So raw. So honest. I can feel your pain and I’m so very, very sorry. Hugs to you, sweet blogging friend.
Thanks for the hug Jane. Appreciate it.