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Next Saturday it’ll be three months since my Dad went to rest in Heaven. I love and miss him so much. I don’t feel as though I have made any progress in my healing process. I know there isn’t a time limit. It seems to be taking so long for this weight to lift off my shoulders. I know he’s resting in Heaven. I don’t know if I’ve fully accepted this. I have experienced brief moments of comfort. Sadly, I experience more sad feelings than comforting ones. Any suggestions for strength and support? 

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I'm so sorry for your loss, Sue, but gratified that you've found your way to this warm and caring place. I hope as you come to know us, you'll feel comfortable in sharing more of your story.

It would help us to know more about you, the circumstances surrounding your dad's death, and whether this is your first experience with significant loss. Was your dad's death sudden and unexpected, or did it happen after a long and lingering illness? Were you with him when he died? Did you feel as if you got to say goodbye? Do you have a circle of understanding family members and friends on whom you can lean for support? Are you taking good care of yourself physically, getting sufficient rest, nutrition, hydration, exercise? These are all important factors as you move forward in your grief. 

You say you don't feel as if you've made any progress in your healing. May I ask what you've been doing these last three months in that regard? Sometimes we buy into the notion that time heals all wounds ~ but it's what we do with the time that makes a difference. (See, for example, Bereavement: Doing The Work of Grief.)

It's also helpful to learn as much as you can about grief as a normal human experience, so you'll know better what you might expect and what you might do to manage your own reactions. Here's a good place to start: Grief: Understanding The Process ~ and note the links to related articles listed at the base.

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I am so sorry, Sue.  I was young when my dad passed, but my mom made it until she was 92, very different for each.  Marty posted some good articles, also you can sign up at whatsyourgrief.com and they'll send articles to your email, the more we read/process it helps.  It helps to express yourself here, read/post, esp. a place where you know others "get it" and it's safe here.  This has been a very caring site, I've been here since my husband died unexpected & prematurely 15 1/2 years ago.  I've learned so much here!  I consider Marty my mentor & friend!  She's amazing not only in her knowledge/wisdom, but also her big heart.

I know this was written for loss of spouse originally but also can be applicable in other losses...the journey is one that is ever evolving so everything may not apply day one but may at some point later on down the road, it's different for everyone...just points to consider at some time as you're ready.

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

 

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