I’ve been avoiding this. I haven’t wanted to connect the dots of grief right now. It’s been said that we’re all going through varying stages of grief globally as we deal with this pandemic.
I haven’t wanted to think about how this is building and happening now, in spring. As nature mocks us humans, as everything blooms and continues to thrive in spite of us. Despite our pain, our illness, our slow down.
I haven’t wanted to recall another spring, eight years ago.
The March when my dad was in the hospital for two weeks, fighting for his life in ICU post-surgery. Then, like now, I rejoiced in the cherry blossoms, at the world in bloom-as my world contracted-and the cruel, mocking splendor of springtime when you’re drowning in fear, swallowed by something you don’t quite recognize yet as grief, and fighting every day to keep your head above water.
To call this time and how I’m drawing parallels to the spring of 2012 weird would be an understatement. It’s uncomfortable. It threatens to burst a dam inside me because now, like then, all I can think about is:
What can I do for someone else?
How can I bring comfort?
How can I help?
How can I push this fear and uncertainty away from me, and in doing so, stabilize myself?
What is stable?
What is normal?
What is comfort?
What is, what is, what is?
Endless questions and painful answers. Hard roads and miles to walk. Discomfort and transformation and pain. Fear, disbelief, anger, loss, and overwhelm.
But also beauty and joy and gratitude. And change and growth and learning and strength.
Using the gift of time and hindsight, looking back at the eight years since my dad’s passing, I can find the positive easily now. I learned so much about myself after his death.
Losing him was my first dance with intense grief and it taught me what I don’t want to take for granted, who I value, it made me appreciate certain qualities within myself and the amazing, nurturing man who raised me. An unconventional father who taught me to cook, but also how to defend myself, who made me learn how to do seemingly random things “so I’d know how to do them” giving me the incredible gift of independence. He also showed me what it means to be a nurturer and a caretaker, both qualities I struggled to accept in myself for a long time. He told me being an adult meant seeing something that needed to be done and just doing it, without being asked.
Finding the wisdom and the ways his death impacted me in a good way is only something that happened with time.
I’m not sure yet what I’ll learn from the spring of 2020 and this worldwide heavy time, and, let’s say it, period of grief. The one thing that has stuck out to me immediately is that the people in my circle-friends and family-mean more to me than I realized.
I can’t wait to freely give hugs again, to look into my friends’ eyes (not via a video chat!) and ask about their lives, to share laughs and high-fives because this fire forged us into something so much strong coming out than when we went in.