Coping in different ways

Tonight I learned that everyone grieves differently.  I probably already knew this but when faced with a short discussion with my dad I realized he and I deal with my mom’s death differently.

My husband and I have had lengthy conversations about what will happen if he passes away before me (hopefully this doesn’t happen).  He knows that I will be “getting rid of all his stuff” immediately, giving it away to charity or something.  I let him know this is not because I don’t love him or that I’m trying to get rid of him.  Oh no.  I love him so much.  But this is how I handle grief.

My mom passed away a little over two years ago though it seems like an eternity to me.  She understood me like no other ever has.  She was my best friend, my biggest fan and my strongest confidante.  She was my rock and I miss her dearly.   And how do I deal with her death?  By ignoring it.  Yup.  That is the only way I stay sane and that is the only way I can go on and survive living while she is up in heaven having fun without me.  I try not to think of her because thinking of her only brings tears and misery and I can’t go to work, on a daily basis, to help people if I am a mess myself.  So, this is my way to deal with the immense sadness of her loss in my life.  One day, hopefully, I will be able to think of her and not tear up but until then, this is the way I cope.  However; this is not the same for my dad~

My dad, who desperately needs to move into a first floor apartment because of his declining health, said to me today, that he can’t move into a smaller place because that would mean he would have to get rid of things and he can’t give up my mom’s stuff.  He said that and then he cried.  You see, my dad never cries because he doesn’t believe in a man crying.  While me, I feel differently.  I think if you have an emotion, let it out.  If you have to cry, do it.  It’s natural and it’s human and you can’t keep these things bottled up or they’ll just resurface again, and again.  He believes in prescriptions to pacify his inner turmoil while I believe prescriptions will only mask the inner pain- much like a band aid covering something temporarily.  In the end it peels off with time and the pain is still there.

But I understand where my dad is coming from and I told him this.  I am only trying to do what best for him but I get it.  In the end, it’s his decision the way he wants to live his life.  He chooses to live his life surrounded by objects my mom loved because it keeps her alive.  Storing these items away would only sadden him and the last thing I want to do is add more pain to his overflowing cup.

So, I guess the lesson is to love everyone while they are here.  Life is so short.  Appreciate those close to you for you never know what tomorrow might bring.  And, to try to understand when people do things differently than you would in the event of one’s passing.  Some create items to remind them of their loved ones, some need to have stuff owned by their loved ones around them while others, like me, can’t have the constant reminders surrounding them.  Everyone grieves differently but in the end, we are all trying to do the same thing:  survive this life to get to the other.

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