Saturday, April 16, 2016

The old me is dead and not coming back

My dad died 5 months ago in a Hospital bed in the Cardiac ICU @ UCSF Hospital @5:30pm. I didn't expect to ever experience this type of deep grief in my 20's. I knew my Dad would die eventually but I thought he could've at least been around long enough to meet my kids and invest in their lives. I have so many feelings since he's been gone. Feelings of anger that he left with so many things untied. Feelings of jealousy that he got to be involved in my niece's life but not my future kids. Feelings of despair that I can't ever call him again to ask his advice on things I have no idea about. Feelings of happiness that he's in the presence of Jesus free of pain. Feelings of envy that he's there and I'm here. Every single thing is a reminder of what I've lost.

I recently read an interview with Kay Warren (wife of famous author/pastor Rick Warren) after her mentally ill son killed himself and it struck a cord with me. She said, "The old Rick and Kay are gone, they're never coming back." When I read that I knew exactly what they meant. I know what it's like to be so changed by grief and death to feel so unlike who you were. For the most part, I've been a hermit these past 5 months; only going out for the important things. I'm struggling with anxiety in crowds, which I've never experienced before. I guess I'm scared that I'll be out and something will remind me of my Dad and I won't be able to control the sadness. I don't want to be "that person" that cries every time someone talks about him. I'm struggling with the feelings of celebrating anything, when I feel like there's this big gaping hole in my chest. I feel incapable of joy. For someone who's been a Christian my whole life I feel like I'm not being a very good one.

I constantly get asked, "Rachael how are you doing?" Sometimes I just want to scream that I'm so not okay. But that'd make for a real uncomfortable conversation so I say we're doing okay. I mean, that's partly honest right? I recently went through all of my emails and put anything from my Dad/related to my Dad in a folder titled "Dad stuff" so I wouldn't have to look at it day in and day out. I mean it's not really a reminder of something if you're constantly thinking about it right? I just can't bare to look at any of the emails I sent out to friends/family daily when we were in the Hospital. I think the main reason is because all the emails were laced with feelings of hope he'd eventually leave that place. I think my Dad thought he'd leave that place. I've felt like stones have been sitting on my chest for the last 5 months. I now understand the quote that says "The greater the love, the greater the loss." I'm feeling it all right now.