Grief Leaves A Scar

Grief is something that changes you forever, it never really goes away – you just learn to live with it…

It’s been seven and a half years since my Dad died after a fifteen-year cancer battle, and I have to say that I’m a much more emotionally sensitive person since his passing. I don’t walk around bereft everyday, but I certainly tear up quite easily at anything that has an element of human pain, suffering and loss. I guess you could say that Dad’s passing has taken my compassion for others to the next level, which I can’t say is necessarily a bad thing!

I’ve gone through all the different stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I would also add recklessness and self-sabotage in there. Each stage has had its obvious challenges that have come at different timeframes and varying degrees.

It took me five years before I was able to come to acceptance (it’s different for everyone). I remember the moment when I finally let go and just accepted this new reality of life without my beloved Father.

I was washing Dad’s vintage Mercedes Benz convertible, his prized possession. My Mum and I had just sold it to an interstate buyer – it was my job to get it ready for collection. Dad always kept the car immaculate, and I was determined to make it shine, just one last time.

As I washed and polished that car, I sobbed my little heart out. I could feel the last five years (or should I say twenty years) of pent up grief leaving me. This car was so symbolic of my Father’s essence, that in letting go of the car, I was essentially letting go of him. I felt so relieved that day, as if a dark cloud had been lifted.

It’s been two and a half years since I accepted Dad’s passing, and I have to say my life (through that grief) had become in such a state of disarray emotionally, spiritually, and financially, that I’m only just beginning to turn everything back around.

It’s been a very long and hard road to get here. I am thankful to be through the worst of it, but I now know the truth about losing a loved one:  Although you come to a place of acceptance, a deep pain remains – a heaviness in your heart.

An ex-colleague of mine once described it like having a scar: the pain is raw, severe in the beginning but fades over time. Every now and then you unintentionally knock the scar, and that pain from the rawness shoots through you and takes your breath away for a fleeting moment. The scar although faded, never goes away, that tenderness is always there.

I didn’t understand that analogy at the time of Dad’s death, but I certainly do now. I have loved, I have lost – although wiser, I am forever scarred!

Below is a poem I wrote about losing Dad.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTON

 Saying goodbye is hard to do,

With how much we have all loved you.

It is not easy,

But we must go on.

You would want us to laugh and not cry.

Happiness is what we must try.

It is then we realise you have not died,

For your love and memories live inside us.

That is the truth that we must trust.

Don’t wallow in the death,

Just rejoice in the life.

That is the legacy this loss leaves behind.

In the midst of sadness, a warmth fills our hearts.

It’s the memories of our loved one coming to life through us.

This is the comfort that helps us go on.

In time, it brings a smile and replaces our tears,

It stands us in good stead throughout the rest of our years.

To have had the honour of loving you,

Is something so special we got to do.

Our life is better for having known you.

We are enriched and blessed with what you have left.

All we can do is be thankful to you,

For the time we were lucky enough to share with you.

Your love is in our hearts, and there it shall stay.

Yes, our memories of you will never fade.

So goodbye to you, at least for now.

We smile as you rest in peace, in God’s care you are now.

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Thanks for reading.

– Stacey

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