One thing I’ve learned about grief since my dad was diagnosed with the brain cancer that took his life only 10 weeks later is that it can make people think about, feel, and even do things they might never have before; I guess that’s just part of navigating the road on this journey.
There are some things that I’ve started to think about since my dad died that leave me with feelings of uncertainty; the more I ponder those things, the greater the lack of clarity I experience. However, there are other things that I have become completely clear about, sometimes because I had never experienced or considered these particular issues before — and some things that I had come across but about which I hadn’t had this particular perspective previously.
Here’s one of the things I know for sure: I know that the world is different without my dad in it, but it’s probably not as different as I judge it to be, at least not in a general sense. Personally, I see the world now in a totally different light than I did before Dad got sick, and I’ve developed a view that is perhaps less naive, perhaps more jaded, or maybe both. Every time I hear or read the statement “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” I want to argue: from my perspective, this could not be further from the truth. If we can keep from allowing it to break us down completely, we are not left stronger; if we are lucky and diligent, we are left transformed, metamorphosized, different.
I search for consolation for the rest of my family and for the other people who knew my dad and who still say to me “I just can’t believe he’s gone,” but I am unable to find anything of comfort for them since I have yet to find it for myself. Time has passed; some of the sharp edges of grief have moved into more of an aching pain, but the sorrow and all of the other emotions that come along with the mourning are still there, with no end in sight. I am different from the person I was before my dad got sick; I live differently, I think differently, and I believe differently.
I know this grief won’t end. It will only change and lessen. We will not get over it, but we will learn to live beside it, hopefully more efficiently and more gracefully than we have been able to do so far. We will hold our memories in our hearts and rely on the promise that the thoughts that now make us mourn will one day be overshadowed by the ones that make us smile.
Our thanks to Stephanie Lancaster for sharing her story with us. Her original posts and more can be found on her blog, Just My Current Perspective.