How I’m Coping with Grief by Finding Meaning in My Father’s Death

“Life has to end, love doesn’t.” ~Mitch Albom

I want to assure you this article is not about the grim subject of dying. The article does not focus on how the death of a close friend is a blessing. It is about how you can use it to your advantage and help you learn big things in life.

Or maybe it is—you decide.

For me, it’s a view, a method of dealing with grief, and something I use to help myself get through the loss.

My father and I were close friends until I was a teenager. Then my hormones and “cool life” became a barrier between our relationship. He became more distant and busy than I was. The pattern continued to this day.

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My dad’s health went downhill fast in a couple of months.

It was easy to see his decline, loss of self, and losing the incessant battle against many diseases. My family and close friends were there to help him in any way they could.

Maybe it was just his time

Last time I saw my dad, he was still in hospital. His breathing problems were severe. It felt like I was in a movie—one of the ones with tragic endings. The ending was tragic.

Every detail about the day that my father died is clearly etched in my mind. How he looked and what he said to me. I also remember who was there, my family, and the speed at which it all occurred.

That experience was devastating. It is not something that you can prepare for.

My heart was broken. I was able to feel anger and sadness, even though I had my family around me.

He went where? We humans are so fragile! Is he looking for something? Did he feel in pain? Could I have done something for him? Is death really so strange? What is the point of people we care about dying and leaving a huge hole in our lives?

It’s been four months since he passed away. It’s been four months since he died.

I have come to the realization—due to the support of my therapist, my family, my partner, and my friends—that death is meaningless until you give it a meaning.

Let me clarify.

Most people go through grief after the death of a close friend or family member. It is very individual and subjective how we experience death and grief.

There are many things I could not say. Perhaps your therapist or mental healthcare professional will be more helpful.

My experience shows that dealing with the death of a loved one is a process with many options. I don’t mean to give death a happy twist. Let me be clear: I think death is a horrible thing.

The loss of a loved person is like losing an entire part of you. This is something that you will never forget.

My experience is that grieving can take many forms. Here are some common pathways:

  • After losing my loved ones, I have learned how to appreciate life.
  • My loss of a friend was devastating.
  • I experienced losing a loved one, and I don’t know how to feel about this yet.

The third was the one I chose.

I felt the constant need to feel sad and to grieve.

Surprisingly, though, there were days where I felt I needed to ignore what had occurred and just live my life.

The pressure was on to me to do and be a certain thing. My dad had passed away so I was forced to be serious, mature and responsible. Now that my dad was no more, I needed to stop focusing on going out, partying, and taking trips with friends and instead save money, settle down, and take better care of my family’s health.

I didn’t know how I should feel.

One night I had the epiphany. (Obviously, deep realizations are always at night, as you already know.

Maybe death is meaningless until I provide it a meaning—a meaning that serves me to cope, to grow, and to let go.

This realization was made possible by reading many books and sharing it with my loved ones. I also talked to my therapist. After journaling for several days about the experience, another important thing occurred.

The process of finding meaning in death is like any other endeavor—you try several things until one works out.

So I tried to find all the meanings that made sense to me, whether they were emotional or logical.

The third realization was that our loved ones only want the best for us. Honouring your loved ones by investing in you, honoring yourself and making yourself better is the best thing.

No matter how difficult our relationships with others were, those who truly loved us and cared would ask us to care for ourselves.

It is not possible for my father to say that it would prove me wrong, but I think he just wanted his family to be happy. Watch me work on myself. I am improving my self-care and trying to be a better person.

Suddenly, everything became much simpler after you have changed your perspective.

For me, death has no meaning.

My dad’s death brought me the golden realization that it’s time to upgrade myself, make myself better, and maybe implement some of his best values into my value system.

For weeks, I have been thinking about this. It is also something that I started to work on.

At a micro-level, I’m aware of the awfulness of death. It was something I had seen close to, but now I understand the importance of living. This newfound appreciation for life is a blessing, no matter how cliché it may sound. And on a macro level, I also know that even my death can also serve a purpose to someone’s life; it could help them ponder, reflect, and probably set things right for themselves.

Moral of this story? Death can be sad and beautiful. It’s all about how you look at it.

You can drown in a storm, or it could be the light that leads you to your goal.

For people grieving now, this section will be for you. It is difficult for me to comprehend what you are experiencing. Losing a loved one can be personal and subjective. However, I want to be of assistance in any way I can.

Here’s a quick list of things that are helping me. These are just a few of the things that I recommend. Please share your experiences in the comments.

Write everything down—your memories, your frustrations, your feelings.

Think of the person you are thinking about. Everytime that happens, take that thought from your head and write it down. We often avoid feeling the pain of loss and try to hide our emotions. Putting your feelings onto paper will help you work through them so you’re better prepared to handle the next set of challenges life has in store for you.

Get professional assistance in any way you can.

Why? Professionals are better than family and friends. It is possible to see a therapist, and then reach out for support from your friends.

You should feel more what you think than what you actually feel.

While there will always be moments when it feels fun and unexpected, once you do, you will experience guilt, shame and self-judgment. You can let go of worrying about what others think and do the things you enjoy. You can read it again to get a deeper understanding.

To remain patient, keep track.

Grieving and getting over a loved one’s death requires a long process for many of us. Sometimes it can be frustrating to try and keep your mind on the task. But if you can maintain a log of your progress— your tiny steps like making an effort to socialize, sitting with your feelings, or writing about your thoughts and sharing this with someone you trust—this can keep you aware, grounded, and patient for the long ride.

Live your life.

Let’s go back to the beginning. Your loved ones want you to feel happy. Make sure you do the things that make your heart happy. It could as easy as going to the old place where you used go together for ice cream and remembering the great times. It could be as simple as getting your ducks under control, going to the interview, exercising, and looking after your body.

All of us will be floating on the water of our memories at the end, whether it’s our day or our lives. Make memories and have fun with your life.

Try to find the meaning and purpose of death. You will be one step closer to being the loved ones you hoped you would become by finding your meaning. #YOLO

Jas Kiran

Jas Kiran, a literature student, is also a self-help specialist who offers practical advice to help us unlock our potentials. She shares her personal experiences on trying practical self-help practices like meditation, bullet journaling, and conscious living on her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/jzenmillenial/?hl=en.

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