It has been two months. I honestly thought I couldn’t make it this far. I still even find myself doing a lot of wishful thinking.
I still ask the question, “What if this is all just a nightmare?” Well, I guess it’s taking too long for me to wake up then. What helped me are the following things:
Stillness keeps me in perspective. Grief is an arduous process. Meditation helps in starting the day with clear thoughts. It’s a practice of careful, non-judgement of thoughts. It is like building a house. At first, it was very shaky, and unstable, but the practice builds momentum for you to face the day.
2. Gratitude List
This would probably seem like a ridiculous idea to you. But amazingly, writing the littlest of things that you are grateful for takes you out of that deep hole of pain. It helps you learn that amidst the loss, there still is your life. I tried my best to consistently write at my gratitude journal. Sometimes I can’t write anything because of the universe-sized pain, but it is true, no matter how bad life gets, acknowledging what’s still working is healthy for the mind and soul.
Before I discuss anything, let me clarify that I am not religious. But, I keep a spiritual practice that makes me feel connected to a higher Being. The act of praying itself, just puts everything out there. When you verbalize, the pain, anger, and fear that comes along with grief, you do feel better. Talking to God or the Universe, makes you process the confusing and turbulent emotions better. And who knows? Maybe somewhere out there, someone listens.
4. Best Friends
Keeping your friends close keeps your sanity. Luckily, I have two friends who are really just one call away. Amidst this most challenging event in my life, the two of them gave me the foundation and certainty that they are here for me. Knowing that you are cared for in the most trying times, makes you feel safe. They listened, no matter how busy they are, and helped in the best way that they can. People like them are one of the best gifts that I ever had in this lifetime.
I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth this past month. This is probably the best decision I’ve made while I was grieving. I needed to find my purpose again. I needed to realign with who I really am especially since the most important person in my life was suddenly gone. It’s my second time reading this book and it offered a whole new level of understanding. I would recommend setting time in your day to read this book and listen to the podcast for every chapter. I felt the healing, which was really unexpected.
As a medical student, I have to read a lot of stuff. Now that I got the time to do that since it’s summer break, this practice built momentum. Feeling productive takes you out of spending the entire day crying. I shed a lot of tears already and I know that Papa wouldn’t want me to keep on doing that. He would want me to stay strong and keep on going. He wanted me to become a medical doctor, and that is what I’ll do. Living his dream for me keeps me connected to him.
7. Talking to His Players
Papa is a basketball coach, hence, a lot of players are really attached to him. He served as a mentor to many kids, but now that he’s gone, I found myself being friends and mentors to them. I may not offer as much wisdom as my Dad, but maybe somehow, by talking to me, they feel more connected to Papa. Along the process, I also feel more connected to him as well. I got to learn a lot of things about my Dad, and by doing this, I remember the happy and funny stories. I get to be more proud of the man that he is.
8. Having a Special Person
Yes, friends, I do have a special person. I am not yet ready for a relationship and this human understands that. So far, he is very constant presence in my life. Also, he just knows the right things to say and do because he also experienced a terrible loss recently. I guess when you are grieving, you cling to any person that you could hold on to. I never thought that we would be this close because we are total opposites. But the understanding and kindness he has amazes me. I need more of those, especially now.
It’s funny how the world works. Papa died during summer break. If it had been a school day, I might have not handled things well. Being with my family helped. We understand the pain but together, we are moving forward. I thank God for such a loving family. Knowing that you are not alone helps. Being surrounded by so much love helps.
I tried my best to go back to writing at my diary. Writing has always been my best friend when it comes to processing emotions. When I feel down, I go back to what I wrote in the past months. I see that I am and have moved forward in the best way that I could. I get to be proud of how far I’ve come despite all the pain. There are days when I am happy. There are days when waking up is the hardest thing to do. Writing makes me acknowledge what I feel. Reading the entries proves that I am a strong and brave girl after all.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Never judge yourself for feeling too much or too little, for being angry or happy. It is a process that you have to patiently go through. Stop thinking about the future. Screw that. Live your life in the present. Open your mind and heart to the lessons. You are doing okay. I am proud of you brave human.