It has taken me 3 ½ years to feel like myself again after my parents’ death. YES, read that again 3 ½ years. I was on the longer end of the grieving spectrum, but everyone is different. After my mom unexpectedly passed away less then 6 months after my dad, I wondered if I was ever going to feel like myself again. The emotional pain was so intense and suffocating. I had never felt this kind of emotional pain before and didn’t know how to deal with it honestly. I wanted to share my story in case it helps someone that has lost a loved one feel like what they are going through is a normal part of the grieving process.
When my dad passed away it was hard, but I managed the grief by keeping myself busy. I loved him so much. My grief would pop up on and off at random times when I wasn’t expecting it but again, I managed it. But then when my mom suddenly was gone that’s when my grief went from manageable to not manageable real quick. She was a cancer nurse and was giving back to this world everyday of her life. It was her passion. I went from sad to angry most days. I was so angry at everything including God. I resented people that had their parents around when I didn’t. I would think why do they get to have their parents on earth and not me? Have I really been this bad? Why God would you take someone off this earth that was giving back to this world like my mom and making it a better place? So, I begin to question if being connected with God was even worth it. I thought, God could have at least left me one parent for a few more years.
I continued to have anger but started sliding into depression at this point. I decided I hated my job that I had been at for 7 years (in the industry for 15 + years) and I quit it 6 weeks after my mom passed away. I felt like nothing mattered anymore that had to do with me, not my job, not my life, not anything. At this point, I kept thinking I just need to stay busy; everything will be fine and these feelings will go away. So, I started the non-profit Give A Funeral, Inc. I felt God prompting me to do this after my dad passed away. Then I decided I was going to do photography full time since I had been doing it part time up to this point. Again, anything to stay busy to not have to deal with the grief because the pain was so unbearable. I literally changed everything about my life in 2 months. I had no normalcy in my day-to-day life except my husband and kids. I thank God they were patient with me. I would not recommend this path by the way. I remember talking to my doctor and she was asking me if I needed to see a therapist and I said, “nope I’m good.” I just thought if I was going about my life and not laying in a bed crying all day, I was fine. I thought that’s what grief looked like, but I should have saw a therapist at this point.
So, for the remainder of the year, I kept my self-busy just trying to keep that pain pushed as far away as I could. I felt so disconnected with everything, including God. Then the following year COVID hit the US and shut/slowed everything down. As you can image this was the time I actually had to sit and deal with the grief. Up to this point in my life I had never, had full blown depression. So, I didn’t know what it looked like, how it felt or how I deal with it. Honestly, the pain from them passing away was so so horrible that I just wanted to die. I am not going to lie; suicide did cross my mind. Unless you have been there it is so hard to understand those thoughts. You just want that pain to end anyway possible in that moment. Then I was so ashamed that I was going through depression and that I had suicide thoughts, I just started the depression cycle over and over again. It was like I couldn’t get out of it. I would talk to myself and say “stop this” and “get over this.” But nothing seemed to work. I felt so helpless. If you are ever at this point, I encourage you to get help from a therapist, talk to someone, call the suicide hotline, anything that will make you feel better. Your life, while you might not feel like it in the moment is so important to your loved ones, friends, co-workers, cashier at the grocery store you see every Sunday, etc. You get the picture! Anyone you come into contact with whether you believe it or not needs you on this earth. There is a reason why you are here.
One night I actually was so overwhelmed with pain from these emotions that I begged God to take it away. Told him I would do anything he needed me to do if he would just take the pain away. Felt like God said you need to work more on the non-profit and he slowly helped me through it. I went from depression from emotional pain of losing them then added depression with feeling unmotivated. It took me awhile to figure out that this was a form of depression as well, the unmotivated part. I walked a lot, read, worked out and journaled. I am thankful to God for prompting me to do this non-profit because that helped heal me as well. And honestly, I still have my days and I know I will continue to have them. I can feel when the depression is coming on now and know I need to give myself some grace. Just know it does get easier, you will always miss them and have emotional pain from that. Everything you are feeling is NORMAL and NOTHING about the grieving process should ever make you feel ashamed. Everyone heals differently and has different time frames to heal. Finally, you are loved and worthy regardless of how you feel.