I always grew up being “Daddy’s Little Girl.”
I would never be “Daddy’s Little Girl” again.
Perhaps you know this type of shift, as well.
Grief is like that.
Grief shifts our world in ways no one is prepared for.
Let’s face it. Who is prepared to have their identity shift from “Daddy’s Little Girl” to something you just might not have the words to describe?
Kubler-Ross describes the steps of grief as Denial/Shock – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance.
When I give speeches about grief I often say, “DABDA. A little DABDA ‘ll do you. You might feel like it will kill you.”
Grief just sucks. I. Hate. Grief.
I hate the pithy comments people say who try to make you feel better. (I think they just cannot stand pain and sadness, so they just say something to try to make themselves feel better about the grieving person feeling so badly.)
I hate the sudden bursts of sadness that seemingly come out of nowhere. -The song, “Butterfly Kisses” came out shortly before or after my Dad died. I’m not really certain when.
I just know when the song played on the radio, I could not hold back the tears.
Thoughts of dancing on the tips of my Dad’s toes came flooding back. Or thoughts of him driving me around on his 1935 Fordson tractor with a twinkle in his eye became my focus rather than the person in front of me who was thinking I was listening.
Dad was so proud of his tractor! The only letter I ever received from him after I moved to California was a letter detailing the buying of the 1935 Fordson tractor. He also included a cassette tape of himself starting it up for my listening pleasure.
I was in my Master’s Degree program when my Dad passed away. In fact, my Master’s Degree graduation was the first big event in my life Dad did not attend. -Given he had passed away just seven months prior, I was able to forgive him. But seriously, I still cannot think of him not being there without feeling frustrated.
Because that’s how grief works.
Our hearts yearn for one last “I love you.” One last, “What do you think of ____?”
I still watch the weather channel or hear about the weather somewhere in the world and want to call Dad. I want to say, “Dad! Did you hear how cold it is in International Falls, Minnesota? How do people live there?”
There are a few basic rules about grief important for you to know.
And one of the most basic rule of grief is to know, “You make the rules.”
No book or person or pastor or priest or counselor can tell you if you are doing your grief “the right way.”
I was blessed when my Dad died. Attending my master’s degree program in Marriage Family Therapy probably helped me to not lose my mind. Because I thought the grief sometimes made no sense whatsoever.
The DENIAL/SHOCK part of grief was overwhelming. I constantly forgot Dad was dead. Waking up on Father’s Day and wanting to call him, wanting to send him a gift for Christmas, etc.
The ANGER was frustrating. I was irritated at the clerk for asking me, “How my day was?” I wanted to scream, “Don’t you know one of the most important people in the world just died?!”
The BARGAINING was almost insane. Could I figure out anything that would have changed the outcome?
The DEPRESSION was a thick, heavy blanket suddenly thrown on me. I could not move it off of my body, mind or soul.
If you are moving through grief, this short series might help you.
However, keep in mind as you read this series, the main rule of grief.
This series might help you to continue to put one foot in front of another as you continue to move through the valley of the shadow of death.
My hope is you will discover the rules that work for you in this Rule-lessness of Grief.
The following is not professional advice. Hopefully, these words can be used as part of the “Me, too” we all need when we’re walking through grief. I’m Kate Pieper, LMFT. I am a sojourner of grief and moving forward. I will be your reluctant tour guide as you navigate this part of your journey.