Overcome Grief & Loss: A 33 Years Old Man Who Could Not Grieve Over His Father’s Death
It is never easy to overcome grief. It takes lifetime to feel okay again when you lose something that once meant the world to you.
Grieving is a personal experience and there is no particular guide to overcome grief.
Each person experiences grief is their own way and has their own coping strategies to overcome grief.
The process of feeling okay again after suffering a major loss can be a long and tiring but with a good support system, courage, a little hope and even professional help one can grow through the pain and overcome grief.
Kartik’s heart wrenching and humbling story gives hope to anyone who is struggling with separation and loss. He had the most difficult time when his father passed away from cancer. It was deeply painful for him to even accept that his father was no longer around let alone how to overcome grief.
I have a confession to make.
I am a liar. I have been lying to myself and to the people I love for far too long.
Let me take you back to 2020. A year most of us want to forget.
The doctor casually handed me the report that said that my father has been tested positive for COVID. And a week after that my father passed away. It all happened in such a whirlwind that I had no time to process the complexities of the dreadful situation.
However, I remember the last days of my father. I was taking utmost care of him refusing to leave his bed even for a minute. A few hours before he left us all, he asked me if I could give him some water. I made him drink a little water, and he looked at me with so much of love and affection that I could not hold back my tears. I began to weep like a child and hugged my father. I begged him not to leave us. I begged him to fight a little more. He was too weak to speak, but his struggled smile was enough for me.
After that day, I was forced to become the man of the house. Being the only son of my parents, I took the responsibility of arranging the funeral and consoling my grieving mother and sisters. I gulped down my sadness because I had to be strong for my family.
This was my lie. For months and months, I pretended to be like a mountain who could not be moved by anything at all. In reality, my heart was already crumbling into pieces. My father was everything to me. He was a friend, a mentor, and a brother to me. I would run to him for every inconvenience in my life and he always had a solution for it.
This right here was the biggest trial of my life, and I searched for him everywhere. I would weep silently in the nights asking God to send him back to me. He was too kind a person to be taken away like this.
During the days, and in front of my family I was a strong and composed man. And during the late nights, I was a boy who deeply missed his father.
Time kept passing, and the world kept moving along. While I was turning into a stone. I would tend to my business each day and pay the bills. I ensured that the needs of my family are adequately fulfilled. I had lost all interest in relationships, friendships, or just life in general. It was almost like I was counting the days until I would be reunited with my father.
Strength is admired and even celebrated by everyone. However, vulnerability is shunned away and even despised. I was a man. How could I break down? How could I ask for help?
Living in a world where you are surrounded by a lot of people yet feel empty and hollow inside eventually takes a toll on you. The lie I had constructed to protect my family was falling apart. I began to have anger outbursts. I became abusive with my employees. I neglected my mother’s appeal to spend some time with the family as well, or show even the slightest interest in getting married.
I despised everything that I saw and everything that I touched. I began to despise myself.
However, a thought kept repeating in my head- Would my father be happy to see me like this?
I hoped to replicate my father’s life. And here I was, doing the complete opposite. He was a zesty person with a lust for life. He loved his wife and his children and extended kindness towards strangers. He was known for his generosity and ever-smiling face.
One night I had a dream. In that dream, I saw my father walking toward me. He took me in his arm and hugged me really tight. I asked him where he had been all this time? He smiled at me and said that he is here now. I woke up with a peaceful feeling in my heart, and tears that did not stop for hours.
I believe my father really paid a visit to me because after that day everything started to change. I opened up to my sister about all the emotions that dwelled within me. We both cried together, and rejoiced in the amazing memories we shared with our father.
She encouraged me to seek out therapy to help deal with the grief and loss. I decided that if I wanted to become even 2% like my dad then I need to take control over my life, or rather lose control.
I have been in therapy for 5 months now. It has genuinely helped me to make sense of all the jumbled web of emotions I felt. The clarity has helped me to manage my anger outbursts, and the endless breakdowns I used to have.
At present, we are working on building hope for life. This one is challenging given the fact that I had murdered all my hopes and dreams with my hands. However, I know I am on the right path because I have embraced my vulnerability. I am being honest with myself, and my friend that is amazingly liberating. I don’t have to pretend any more or fake my true feelings.
The beauty of working on yourself does not only impact you but also leaves a favorable impression on others. I am able to sit with my family and share jokes again. Of course, I deeply miss my father but I take peace in knowing that he must be proud of the man I am becoming today.
How one can deal with the loss of loved ones? There is no manual for that. The stages of grief dont really work when all the stages happen to you every single day. I don’t believe that one can truly get over the pain that one feels. However, lying to yourself about how you truly feel and living with that lie only deepens the wounds. The only way the pain lessens is when you allow yourself to feel it, and then move towards a life where the pain exists, but where happiness grows bigger and bigger. That is the only way you can overcome grief.
Kartik’s honesty and candidness about how he struggled with the loss of his father makes us wonder if it is ever possible to overcome grief and go on with your life with the same hope and determination. Loss and separation of loved ones leaves a void that is impossible to replace.
Yet we move along with life with a new sense of courage and bravery. We slowly learn how to grow around that void and dare to hope that we can overcome grief if we only allow ourselves to feel vulnerable and find the inner strength that has always been within us.