It had now been almost 8 years since Dad had died. Each year, we would say to each other how quickly the years were going by and no matter how many years will pass, it will still only feel like yesterday. It sounds like such a cliché but it is really scary how weeks can quickly turn into months and before you know it, a year has gone in a blink of an eye.
It does seem that because you are trying to move on with your lives, that it feels that the person who has departed has been forgotten about. But it isn’t like that at all. It’s a survival coping mechanism. For example, when my dad had not long passed I understandably didn’t want to eat or do anything. I had no appetite but not long after, my stomach started to rumble. I would think to myself, ‘Why do I want to eat? I shouldn’t be eating while feeling like this..’ But this is a normal process of grieving and the body’s natural coping strategy. There are other things that people use for coping strategies such as drugs, alcohol abuse and eating unhealthily. Thankfully, I didn’t go down that route because I knew that I had to be strong for not only mum, but for myself too. As long as you surround yourself with a strong support network such as your friends and family, feeding your body with good nourishing food and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise, it will help to combat the grief-related stress.
And it worked.
Mum was walking the dog, Dandy, twice a day while Max and I were both working. He certainly kept her fit. She would joke about how she had never done so much exercise in her life since getting the dog. I’m glad that she felt better and on the plus side, she made a few friends too. I was concerned about her sometimes because she didn’t have many friends. Most of them had lost touch over the years, so this had really helped her a lot, and she would meet them round their places for coffee.
Our little family was slowly healing. Even though it will never be the same, we managed to overcome this huge hurdle. Every year, the three of us would light a candle in the living room and quietly sit and reminisce. We would also get a balloon and write ‘Dad’ on it and let it go from the balcony and watch it go up slowly into the sky; relying on the gentle breeze to carry it further and further away. We always wondered where the balloon would eventually end up landing. But, we’d like to think that it went on to reach Dad and he would catch it wherever he was.
There would be more inevitable hurdles and challenges that would probably come our way but whatever happens, we will face it head on and overcome it. We had come this far so if we can do this, we can do anything..