Grief isn’t linear

We all know that it has stages. Some say there are five, some say that there are seven, I’m going with the seven because that’s what resonates with me more. But even with the stages, grief isn’t linear. I wish it was, because my life would be a tad easier but I also know that if it was linear I would have so many epiphanies.

First, there’s the shock and denial, before the pain and guilt. It’s followed by anger and bargaining before the depression sets in and once you’ve gone through that there’s the positive side of it, the reconstruction and working through the grief before the final stage is acceptance. Makes sense doesn’t it? I think it does.

Since my dad had his heart attack and joined the ranks of people in my life that are watching over me, I’ve found that grief is a ridiculous sort of thing. Four years and five months later since he first exited the world I’m still going through the grief. Dad is gone and he’s still making my life difficult (and I say this with loads of love because my dad was a hardarse that I appreciated way after his death).

There are so many times that I have wailed for him to be here. For his presence to be walking through my front door; his Cheshire like snicker that always made me smile; those big clunky steel capped boots to track mud into the house and that Lomani drenched bitter after smell of smoke to grace a room and be familiar and while I can dream and will for all of those things to return into my life, I know that it’s now.

I know it.

I logically know it’s impossible, but I still want it.

I still crave it.

The familiarity and the ability to talk to him is what I miss the most.

I want to call him up and talk to him and I know that if I was to call his number there would be a woman on the other end who now has the claims to his number that is permanently burned into my brain.

grief isn't linear

Day by day I forget a little more about him, no, that’s not the right thing to say. I remember less vividly about him. The sound of his voice and that Cheshire snicker is a soft murmur in my brain and those brown eyes that use to be so serious when he was telling me off are like a blurred picture and I’m struggling to find the right setting to focus it.

I rely on pictures that I have in my life, on my phone and around my place.

My boyfriend will never get to understand his sense of humour and while I continue to collect people who are so very similar to him, there will be no one who can replace him, or take his place.

In one day, I could feel all seven stages, I’ll be in denial that he’s gone when I smell his scent. I’ll be angry that he isn’t here to help relight the pilot light in the hot water system. I’ll be crying because I’ve accepted that he’s gone.

My dad wasn’t a hugger but I crave to be in his arms again because I know that it’s safe there and that if I have problems with house things or even life I’d be able to talk to him about it. His sick sense of humour would make me laugh and his stupid smoking boots joke always made me smile, even though it was racist. My dad was the one man who I could turn to who would make life better, well after tears when he would call me out on my shit.

He would move heaven and earth for me, literally, when I wanted to pursue my dreams and he believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He was the one who always wanted me to succeed and even though he was hard and it took me a year and a half for me to convince him to let me follow my dreams, I know that he was secretly waiting for me to grow a pair and do it for myself. When I did that I think he realised how hard headed I was, he raved about me to his colleagues and was even harder on me, but I know, now, that he was always proud of me and I want to show him that his faith in me and my choice to move to another state wasn’t wasted.

They weren’t and even as work ravages my life and my ability to function on a creative level has taken me backwards, remembering that his is gone and that he was proud of me has brought me back, bit by bit I move past the exhaustion and the fogginess to come back to me. To come back to what my real purpose is.

grief isn't linear

I want to thrive again. I want to have writing take over my entire life. I want to get up and be so excited that when I go to bed at night all I can think about is my dream and what my characters are going to tell me.

And when I get a hold on that I’m going to find the abundance of clients who don’t think I’m too expensive to work with, and my articles will get published, my short stories on show for all and I’ll get that book deal I dream of because I’m putting in the work. I’ll even be in front of all my uni work and not lagging behind because I’m dying on the inside.

The long journey to where I am, the lack of motivation and the ability to just fluff it over it’s gone. All of it. I’m back and with the non-linear nature of grief and the reminder it’s given me in the last week or so I know that it’s time to stop making excuses for myself and letting myself get down in the dump. My dad would be so mad if he let me stew this long.

I’m ready for what is to come and I’m not afraid.

I’m ready to step into my power and I’m ready to have Dad guide me through this next hazy path.

I hope you’ll join me too.

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Mandi is a writer, reader, dreamer and is breaking procrastinating inner editors, one at a time.

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