Father’s Day

Happens to be Father’s Day.

My dear dad – I miss you…and I love you… I have not forgotten you, as I was afraid of in the initial phases of grief. I am very happy with this 🙂 Till I see you again, rest in peace.

Happy Father’s Days to all fathers, all who want to be a father, and who were once a father.

You are loved more than you can imagine.

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remembering dad and a few good things

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s passing.

I remember him with his smile, sky blue eyes, nice skin, strong chin, beautiful voice, and presence. I wish things were different and we could go back and fix everything between us. I wish I could be there for him and kiss his cheeks once more. I wish I could say daddy again.

I cannot.

But I also know that he and I loved each other and we would not wish for another dad, another daughter. He showed his fatherhood and introduced us to not only life but also death, and walked through his lonely journey all by himself. Like his dad, like his mom, like his brothers. At least he was not alone.

Rest in peace dad. One day I will find you again. I promise.

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In the last few days I have been getting really tired of being annoyed by some people and my work being the most important thing in my life.

I had to have dinner with two colleagues I really dislike (!) and a third one I somehow like. I hated the idea of spending my time with the people I disliked but the night went okay, thanks to my third colleague. The two continued to annoy me during the dinner and it has come to a point that I do not want them to affect me this way anymore. I do not know why I cannot let go off their ridiculous ways, but this is what it is.  I will find additional ways to further distance myself from them. At least the benefit of this highly annoying dinner was that finally I have had it enough. It came to a point that cannot be ignored. And this is a good thing. A large part of our relationship is over.

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And I have been thinking for sometime that life has been going, I was getting older and closer to death each day, and all I was thinking about lately was how miserable, stressed, unappreciated, and financially insecure I was at work. 

One of the changes that has happened this past summer was that I did not want to dwell on small issues and rather use my time, effort, and skills for bigger issues, bigger fights, bigger good. The fact is this: I happen to find issues in anything in life (a professional curse) and dwell on them full force. The question I asked myself was whether I wanted to have a bigger professional life and deal with bigger issues taking similar time and energy, and having similar levels of irritation/stress. The answer is an easy yes. That is why I undertake a lot more this year in terms of leadership and committee work.

I have started to extend this to my personal life. This morning I was talking to my sister and I said since my social life is small, even the little social interactions, if a little annoying, annoys me big time. I said that I have decided to have a bigger life and then get annoyed if I must. Maybe I will learn one or more things. Maybe I will meet great people. Maybe I will find ways to enrich my own inner life. I know it will be better, no matter what.

As part of this, I am excited to say that I re-started my stretching/meditation classes tonite. Just like that I showed up there, purchased my plan, sat on the floor in a quiet, warm, and cozy room with others, breathed in and out, calming my mind and soothing my body. And I just felt that calming my mind was one of the most fantastic things I have ever done for myself lately.

🙂

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on life, death, and nature

My mom’s little bird has died after a couple of week’s illness. It was loved, cared, pampered, and cherished. 

My mom and sister are feeling the pain of losing something that they loved so much. They feel like they have not done enough to care for the bird and blame themselves.

Nothing could be far from the truth; they cared for it while she was healthy and especially when she was sick. They have got an expensive medical care for the little one and gave water using  syringe and kept it on their chest when she needed warmth and contact. They monitored it around the clock. They have done more than many people I know respecting and caring for that life. Yet, it was just her time to go and here my sister and mom feeling the blame and sadness.

It is natural to feel the sadness and grief, but I wished they did not blame themselves for what happened to this lovely creature. 

I told them what I experienced when my father had died 1.5 years ago. The sadness was nothing like I knew before, grief was overwhelming, I too blamed myself for not caring for my dad while he was alive or while he was dying. I still do. But I remember my wish to walk and see the nature as it is at that time, as life and death are a part of our life cycle and seeing nature I was able to put this in a rational frame. I remember looking at the trees, some naked and dried up, some looking like dying, but I knew that in spring some of them at least would flourish. I also remember seeing a man with a little child…. Life was continuous, only the life forms would be changing. We may lose one, heck, we will lose ourselves one day, but life will continue with a different tree, in a different place, with a different human.

It is impossible not to feel sadness and grief upon losing someone or an animal that we have loved. We have two options; either not love anything/anyone to protect ourselves from this, or love and go through the consequences. That is a natural dilemma of being human and having a consciousness. There can be no good solution to deal with death of a loved one…

But we can care and demonstrate our love while pets and humans are still alive.

After all, life is short and we have a tendency to focus on what we have in our plates at the time being, and forget the reality to come.

Go hug someone, a pet, or a tree today. Tell them or show them you care. Love yourself too and receive the love from others. Do not be shy.

 

 

 

a year without dad

Today is the first anniversary of the death of my dad – May he rest in peace…

I have been dreading this day knowing that it would make me deeply remember my dad (for which I am grateful), my regrets of what I should have done or what I should not have done when he was alive (for which I came to realization that there is nothing to be done), and the sadness I experience  over his death (which is so vivid and continuous)…

I am very sorry that my dad and I did not spend more quality time together. That I could not be a good daughter for him. That I was not with him when he died.

Despite these, I also know that he loved me and looked after me all the time. He forgave me too, for things I should not have said or done. My father was a father alright.

Among all these turbulent emotions, I am glad for a couple of things, too. When my father died, one of the fears I had developed was to forget my dad. I am glad that this has not turned into reality. And lately I thought that when I died, he would guide me and welcome me to death. I know this is ridiculous but it so soothes me and makes me unafraid of death. I am still not interested in dying (when he died I developed fear of my own mortality), but when the time comes I hope I will remember this.

Rest in peace dad. I am sorry for a lot of things. You knew these and you still loved me. For that I am ashamed, awed, and grateful. You know I would not choose another dad, but you. I love you.

Till next time. 

 

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hope and dreams

One should have hope and dreams. In their absence, eventually, inertia follows and starts to win over intentions and efforts required to move up to a better place, a better life.

As I read and reflected on grief (after the death of my dad in February), I noticed that I previously grieved for my lost hopes/dreams, too. For instance when I lost the hope to marry the person I had once loved. It took me years to completely forget this person and I was in constant pain and missing terribly the happiness I had felt for my future. I had not noticed at that time, but this was one perfect grieving process.

So, what happened?

Nothing much; except that I also lost my ability to dream and get excited about my future life. I also understood what happiness was.

How does that feel?

Not great actually. I am constantly feeling the need to have a zest for life, but I also constantly fail to do so. This recurring, repeating cycle has nothing to offer but discontent, depressive thoughts, and not surprisingly, unhappiness.

Today, I have dreamed about finding the opportunities out there that would help me find a new job somewhere else; this would help me with initiating a new episode of life away from where I am right now. And that dream felt good.

I am not sure what made me feel good more; to have hope after a long period of inertia, or to be able to one day leave here….Anyways…

Do I deserve to be unhappy? Nope.

Do I deserve to be limited this way? Nope.

How many chances do I have in life? One

What prevents me from seeing the opportunities that may be out there? Only me and my mental blocks.

Will I be able to locate these opportunities at once and fast? Probably not.

Am I in rush to find them? No.

So, what should I do?

I can calm down and feel the hope and all the good feelings it brings along.

I can keep dreaming, as dreams are the ones that will give me the motivation and energy to look for opportunities.

I hope I will not lose these, too.

I do not want to grieve for lost opportunities. I want to claim them.

TV shows I have been watching lately

Okay; so I finished the 1st season of Secrets and Lies, the USA version (looks like it is an adaptation from an Australian series). It consists of around 10 episodes, where a married man with two children one morning finds the dead body of a little boy he knows and becomes the prime suspect after that.

It was an interesting story with lots of adversity (e.g. the man’s marriage has fallen apart; the dead boy turned out to be his own (after a brief relationship with the boy’s mom, which he learnt only after the death of the child); the mom turned out to be bipolar and had another child previously died etc etc. There is such a drama unfolding around these two families that it is an interesting watch. The acting is not my favorite, especially Juliette Lewis as Detective Andrea Cornell – she is so dull and so serious in this production that I got cold by just watching her. The season finale is shocking though; so I would highly recommend you to give it a try if you are interested in mystery series.

Just a few hours ago, I have started to watch the Six Feet Under. What I read about this series is amazing, yet the 1st episode did not captivate me, to tell you the truth. Plus, the topic is death and people’s reactions and the feelings it induce; while I am open to think, read, and write about death after the death of my own father, I do not think that I can take all these feelings right now. So, it is very likely that I will not be watching the rest of the series.

……….

Though I just realized that this series gives grief, my grief, a voice and I feel tremendous amount of understanding… For example when the Nate character is keen about living the grief, rather than hiding it because of social expectations (e.g. the visitation and the burial scene). That is how exactly I have grieved; I did not care about the people’s expectations from me. I was in pain and I cried. I as a matter of fact wanted to cry and feel this tremendous loss. With people around, this is not possible. And all the stupid things they keep saying: “he is in a better place now. he had a good life (by the way this mostly came from people who did not know my dad; how did they know that? Sure thing that they made assumptions. But they have not realized that assumptions are non-specific, non-sincere, and as such, are hurtful).

I remain firm that when faced with the loss of a loved one, all words are meaningless….So, let’s give each other a break.

Anyways, if there is one TV series that I can keep watching is the Sleepy Hollow. I give it a 10 out of 10; the character Ichabod Crane and his mannerism (and acting) has been my favorite. I believe I have watched the entire series at least twice and I can do that again 🙂

 

death and forgiveness

Death does interesting stuff to your thinking.

At least, that is what the death of my dad did to me.

I am open about my pain more than I have ever imagined. I am human and I am okay to show it. I do not feel vulnerable or exploited or something like that. No. I feel completely human by talking and showing my grief and as a result, I get completely human responses; nicer, more positive, more emphatic…. I think I am lucky that I have good people around me – not one person said “stop this; you get to get over the death of your dad” or anything else that only an insensitive assh.le could say.

I am also forgiving. After all, what is not to forgive? No one in my life has hurt me physically or psychologically. Yes, there has been people influential on me and I cried, complained, got angry or heart-broken over people or their actions. Yes, I thought there was injustice or unfairness. Yes, I thought that I could do a lot better if I was given equity/equal opportunity. But no matter what, no one has ever hurt me in a way that I could not forgive. I have since then forgiven all and I am feeling good. Like an internal iceberg has melted and I am filled with warmth instead….

Death is a lonely journey. Thinking about someone going thru it is terrifying. It terrified my right before my dad passed away; I was worried about my dad going thru this unknown all alone. Was he scared? I kind of think he might have… I was not there to hold his hand, look at his eyes, and say “it is okay, dad”… It still breaks my heart. Nobody should face death alone. It would be better if our minds and hearts are filled with love and gratitude, rather than fear and loneliness, while approaching our last moments in life.

So when I think about the fact that we all will go thru death, no matter how much we would like to ignore it, I feel the same compassion and affection for all. I do not think anybody in my life really meant to hurt me. And I would not like any one to suffer or be scared during their transition to death. These make forgiveness so easy, so natural.

I cannot believe death can have such a healing effect, but that is what I have experienced.

Hope you can forgive and it has been easier for you than it was for me.

Hope you can forgive someone today.

 

joy journal, March 14, 2016

It has been a while that I have posted this journal… I am not particularly in a “joyful” mood, but then is this not the entire point of the joy journal?

1. I am grateful for the book that I have been reading, which had a chapter about “gratitude”. This has reminded and prompted me to write this post. Hoping to find many things to list now, even though I am still down after the recent death of my dad..

2. I am grateful for remembering my dad with affection and love. I am so sorry that he passed away but there is nothing much I can do about this. I rather make it a priority to remember him, cherish his memory, and make sure that he is remembered by others.

3. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up on time this morning. Looks like I was not affected by the daylight saving adjustments done yesterday. I was not late and not sleepy or cranky; surprisingly well done.

4. I am grateful for deciding to take the bus even though it was snowing nice and easy. The bus was late but this did not defer me from waiting for it. I almost decided to return to home to check my emails to see whether my work place was closed because of the snow (visibility was really poor), but I waited anyhow and the bus showed up. All is well.

5. I am grateful for the coffee one of my friends and colleagues bought me this morning. It was delicious and a nice change from my usual coffee. This did not mean that I did not brew my coffee; I have and it was great to have it 🙂

6. I am grateful for working with a team member before noon and submitting two reports for review. It always feel good when things are done. Now we are waiting for feedback, which is fine. Feeling satisfied about work.

7. I am grateful for wanting to work today and taking care of many stuff. It has been a really fruitful day and before I realized, it was past 5pm. Lovely! I love it when I lose myself in work.

8. I am grateful for walking back home from the office, despite the snow on the road. It is difficult and takes more time to walk on snow, but I keep telling myself it is a great exercise.

9. I am grateful for taking it easy this evening. I have eaten lightly today. I do not have appetite nowadays, which is very unusual. yesterday I had felt like maybe I was getting down with a bug or something and lots of lemon juice and hot soup were my medicine. I am feeling better today but the appetite is still nowhere to be found. That is okay. I continue to have soup with lemon juice, which I believe is good for my immune system.

10. I am grateful for all the food I have in my fridge, freezer, and the pantry. I am feeling abundant and very grateful for their presence.

11. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, books, notebooks, and pens that make my life easy and enjoyable. These are probably my most important material possessions, other than the pictures and gifts from loved ones.

12. I am grateful for one of my bosses giving me a hug today and asking how I was doing. This was the first time she has seen me since my father passed away and I really like her sensitivity and kindness. It is good to have kind and nice people around us, especially when we are most vulnerable and sad.

13. I am grateful for being grateful and taking my time to note these. I am feeling better than 10 min ago, thanks to remembering and finding all these things (and more) that I have experienced today.

 

broken

poem

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cannot cry hard enough, dad

my tears are done running

I since then been grieving

 

cannot dream anymore, dad

my inner child is hidden

now that I am regret-ridden

 

worse; cannot fly high, dad

I never will

one of my wings is broken

now that you are gone

 

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fear of forgetting my dad

After a 10 days off from work due to the death of my daddy, I am back to work as of today.

I have been feeling the stress of the accumulated work in the last few days, which drove me crazy; am I supposed to care that much about work? Even so, can I just not take it easy? Reduce my work load or make better use of my time? But most importantly, why is my focus changing from my dad to daily life?

They say life continues, even while you are grieving or right after you have had a significant loss; you somehow need to eat, answer to the phone, go to bathroom, respond to emergencies at work/family, maybe have one laughter or two spontaneously while talking to family or friends. These make sense to me. But stressing myself over work and overly starting to think about it are annoying me. I must be thinking about my dad. Otherwise I feel like I will forget him (this is a fear I developed after the death of my dad; I know it is impossible to forget my dad; can a dad be forgotten? Yet, like any fear, it is quite powerful).

It is not like I do not think about my dad. I do; at nights especially. Looking at his photo sometimes brings tears to my eyes. Sometime, I sob quite violently. Sometimes during the day, like today, I just remember him and remember those times that I could help him better, that I could spend more time with him. These regrets drill my heart. It is painful, horribly painful. I notice that as time goes on I get more regrets than before. It is like I will get more and more of these and one day I will just collapse.

But as a wise fellow blogger, NinaSusan, said yesterday, these feelings/regrets are normal and the important thing is that my dad and I knew we loved each other… This gives me some sense of peace, something to hold my mind onto.

My father was proud of my work and of me for being such a hard-worker. There is quite a meaning in my work, so my dad would like me keep going, too. It also makes me feel better and functional. But the root cause of my fear of forgetting my dad is the priority I give to my work. It was like this in the past for decades and it is highly likely to be so in the future, too.

I am determined not to forget my dad. Whether it is thru putting his photo in my office or dedicating time to continue my letter to him. This baseless fear will eventually go. I will not forget my dad…..

 

 

today’s grief journal

I am overall feeling better; there has been only one case of tears bursting and that occurred while I was walking.

Walking became an integral part of my life since my dad died 10 days ago. I just leave the home and let my feet find the path. I do find peace and serenity in it. It also helps me get tired and sleep better at night.

The first few days it was because walking gave me the chance to silently weep. I cried aloud sometime at home when the sadness took over my every cell, my every thought…. Walking on the other hand does not permit this; all I can do is to let the tears go down silently. I am not sure whether I prefer this kind of emotional bursts than loud ones, or because walking somehow makes me more grounded and thus less aloud….

I remember one day I just wanted to walk to get a glimpse of life and death. Death after all is something we mostly ignore…. Some of the trees have been here longer than any of us, yet some of them were shedding barks or leaves…. I found looking at trees and seeing these giving me some sense of life and death. I also saw kids walking with their parents and giggling. This told me that there is renewal in human life. After all, if we had not died, then what would be the reason of having kids? Kids are awesome. I also noticed houses; some new, some needing repairs, some being renovated. The truth behind all of these was beginning and end were continuous in life, somehow putting human life and loss of loved ones in a logical frame. Accepting death as a part of life is brutal at first, but it certainly is healing.

My energy levels are getting better; I walked 40 min in the morning and then 1 hour at noon to a shopping mall. This is the second time I have walked there in my life; first, many years ago out of curiosity, and second, today just because. One hour of walk is quite unusual for me (too long for a lazy and busy person like my usual self…), but I made it. It was during this walk that I cried; I keep thinking how much I have loved my dad and I would have never chosen another one instead of him. And how better we could all have treated each other while he was alive….This regret is hard to swallow…. As my mom said “it would be nice that we never treated one other with an attitude or an unkind way, or never said things that would hurt the other person, but life is not like this.

That is certainly true. It does not mean that let’s go ahead and hurt people’s feelings; no. But I recognize that we all have our moments, our rights and wrongs, our list of things that are acceptable or not acceptable, our own struggles, and our significant differences. And our reactions as a result.

What my mom said has made sense to me and is easing my guilt caused by disappointing or frustrating my dad, and by not being with him as much as I should have been.

I owe my mom big time for helping me to ease this guilt by being sensible…..

grief…

I did not know much about grief till my dad died last week. It is strange; it is painful; and it is a lonely journey.

When I say lonely, it does not mean I needed to go thru my days alone. I meant I needed to face, experience, process, and feel it all by myself. Like many of us I guess. It is a personal and unique experience. I do not know whether this is a survival instinct or not, but I think everybody going thru grief may know what is best for them to help go thru it. I hope you all will find these tools when you need them…

My this experience with grief was something that I found interesting. Without thinking, planning, or resisting, I just let it surround me, felt the emotions, and supported myself (and others) as much as I could. I did not work. I did not go to work, though I had to check my emails and involve in some minor urgent matters (I am still resentful about these….I am still resentful that people required my attention during this time… I am still resentful that I did not say no – you should wait…I am resentful about work and all the neglect I have done for it…. ).

In my case, being alone and not communicating with people other than my immediate family helped quite a bit. After all, I felt like words were only words and would not diminish my loss at all. In contrast, I thought they were driving me crazy…Only after a couple of days, words, especially the good wishes and good memories of my dad started to make sense. As a matter of fact, I craved for them. I still do.. Remembering my dad with love and cherishment became a priority for me. These give me peace.

The circumstances around the death my dad also help my grieving process. He had a long life (he was 88), the majority of his life he was healthy, he lived his life in a way that he wanted, he was proud of his children and knew they were okay; and he had great care prior to his death. He did not suffer too much at the end of his life. The last day of his life was great and meaningful. He, I thought, left this world with dignity, without letting life make him suffer any further or any more hurting. Before he became more incapacitated. He was buried by his children (except me; I could not go) and many of his friends were present in his ceremony. Right before his death, we all had become a family, loving, caring, forgiving, and forgiven. I think he died knowing this, which is the most important thing for me.

I do not know whether writing and reading have always been my tools that help me analyze and contemplate (come to think about it; I guess that is correct), but I found reading and writing about grief, death, and my dad very therapeutic….

I wrote my inner conversations with my dad in a long letter that is getting longer each time I write on it…. When I read it time to time, I can see my feelings and all the realizations and sorrow I have gone through. I also see the love I have for him… During one of this readings I had realized that I would have never wished for another person as my dad; if I had an opportunity to have a dad again, he would be the one I wanted. Feeling and knowing this in such a deep sorrow have been incredibly healing….

Why reading about death and grief? To face them. In order to make sure I was not hiding, ignoring, or running away from them. To take the feelings, however saddening they may be, as they were. To live these moments in an authentic way. And most importantly, to fully and openly connect with my dad’s memory…

I may mention about the books I have read in a later post, but I want to say you this; grief and coping with a loss is an individual journey.. The books usually mention about several stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance)… i did not go thru these yet, certainly not in this order. I did not deny my dad’s death for example. I am not bargaining. I am not fully depressed…I am not feeling anger towards him, life, or anyone else. I am just saddened that we could have better memories, more time spent together, and I could care for him more and better…even though I know we all did our best during our lives and with our interactions, I naturally have regrets…. i also know that these do not matter now (i.e. there is nothing I can do to reverse the time) and I can rather focus on all the good memories and all the goodness and peace surrounding his death.

That also means that I have learnt about others’ experiences with death and loss by reading. I am not interested in comparison of pains or the effects the losses put on us; after all everybody has their own memories, their wishes, their regrets, their circumstances, and their emotions to deal with. But I have seen that there were losses that if happened to my dad would have made my grief journey much more painful;  a long-lasting and incapacitating disease for example. Death at a young age… These give me some kind of peace… Maybe I am being selfish or something… Please forgive me if you have experienced such losses and my experience sounds like a selfishly better or less painful one….. No loss is better than the other; but I hope they all have somethings attached to them that give some sense of peace, some sense of serenity….However different they may be for each one of us.

I miss my dad and I love him dearly. May he rest in peace for ever.

grief over losing dad

It has been a week that my dad died.

I truly loved my father and if I had an opportunity, I would choose him again as my dad. May he rest in peace…..

I am broken and saddened.

But, I know this; I could not get by these days, this agony, the loss of my dad without my family; each one of them mended the broken bricks in my heart. I am forever grateful.

There are many things to be said, many things to be remembered. Perhaps I will, perhaps I won’t. Perhaps they should remain sacred.

The truth is death of a loved one changes you, makes you realize and experience new things, new feelings, new thoughts. Nothing and no one can prepare one to the grief of such a loss.

I found some more relief (in addition to the support of my family) by reading about death and grieving. I now have 5 books that remind me that I am not the only who grieves after a loved one; that death is a natural part of our lives; that everyone goes thru it and the grief individually and uniquely. For some reason, reading and contemplating in these gives me peace and helps with my sadness.

I did not want to see anyone when I heard the news for 4 days, except my family. I simply faced my emotions. They were raw… But I sincerely think that this was the wisest thing I have ever done. I know myself; I could as well choose to suppress my feelings, deny everything, and keep busy with work or otherwise distract myself. I am glad I have not. Allowing myself to feel my loss and going thru the initial steps of grief was wise. I feel like I am coming back to my life, however slowly or broken-hearted I am.

I also wonder why we hardly talk about death and why we do not have a healthy grieving culture…..

Losing my dad was the first major loss in my life. There will be many more as nature dictates. I too will die one day. Will I take them easier after my dad’s death?

I guess I will write more about grief in the coming days…

 

 

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