Navigating grief: 10 emotions I felt when my dad passed away

my dad passed away

When my dad passed away from cancer (metastatic melanoma) over the summer, my whole life imploded and a torrent of emotions engulfed me, reshaping my world and teaching me profound lessons about life, loss, and love. Through the tumultuous journey of grief, I discovered that my feelings were a complex tapestry, woven with threads of sorrow, confusion, regret, and even physical pain. In this heartfelt article, I share the 10 emotions that washed over me when my dad passed away and during this trying time, offering a glimpse into the roller coaster of emotions that come with losing a loved one.

1. Overwhelming Grief: An Ocean of Emotion

I was there at the very moment when my dad passed away, and as soon as he had taken his final breath, an overwhelming grief engulfed me. It felt like an unending ocean of sorrow, one that filled every cell of my being. Each breath was heavy with the weight of my loss, reminding me of the depth of my connection with him.

2. Numbness and Jumbled Thoughts: A Mind in Turmoil

In the aftermath of his death, my mind became a jumble of thoughts, yet I found myself unable to focus on anything. Numbness took over, casting a haze over my ability to process reality. It was as if my thoughts were scrambled, reflecting the chaos within.

3. Double Sorrow: Mourning for Two

When my dad passed away, it meant not only just losing my dad and grieving for myself but also for my daughter’s loss of her beloved grandfather. The sorrow felt doubly heavy, as I navigated my emotions while helping my daughter navigate her own grief and make sense of her feelings too.

4. Physical Pain: Grief’s Silent Agony

Grief is not just an emotional experience; it can manifest as physical pain. I felt an ache deep within my body, as if my liver, where emotions are said to reside, was protesting against the intensity of my grief. It was a stark reminder that emotional pain can have tangible effects.

5. Wading Through Life: A Struggle to Move Forward

After my dad passed away, each day felt like a battle as I dragged myself through life, the hours passing like slow-motion film. It was akin to wading through thick glue, where every step was a struggle and even the simplest tasks felt like monumental feats.

6. Unreal Reality: A Disorienting Dream

In the haze of grief, reality felt surreal. I often questioned whether the events were real or if I was trapped in a bad dream. This sense of unreality made it even harder to process the magnitude of my loss. This eased slightly once we had his cremation and memorial service, however, that feeling still remained in my core.

7. Regret and Reflection: The Weight of Missed Opportunities

Although I had spent a lot of time with my dad in later years, I felt deep regret for not spending more time with my dad during my carefree 20s – this weighed heavily on me. I wished I could turn back time and cherish those moments with the wisdom I had now gained. As I looked back at photos of him and us during this period, I wondered where on earth I had been.

8. Conflicting Grief: Anger and Disbelief

Witnessing others’ varied ways of grieving stirred up conflicting emotions within me. Anger and disbelief arose as I struggled to understand the differing methods people employed to cope with the loss, making me question my own version of grief and put strain on relationships within the family.

9. Utter Brokenness: Pieces of My Heart Scattered

Grief shattered me, leaving behind fragments of a heart that felt – and still feel – irreparably broken. It was as if my emotional core had been dismantled, leaving me in a state of emotional vulnerability. All of a sudden I felt so old and heavy.

10. The Confusion of Grief: Tears Stuck in Limbo

The journey through grief is marked by its erratic nature. There were times when tears flowed uncontrollably, and at other times, they seemed trapped, refusing to be released. The confusion of this process mirrored the complexities of mourning itself.

Additional Learnings

During this period, I also discovered the power of connecting with others who had experienced similar losses. Sharing stories, hearing about their emotions, and learning how they coped provided a sense of community, understanding and validation in a time of isolation.

It reminded me that grief is a universal experience, yet uniquely personal for each individual. It’s a journey we navigate in our own way, but with the support of those who understand the intricacies of our emotions.

As time passed, I learned that grief isn’t linear; it’s a series of waves that ebb and flow. Some days, the emotions felt more manageable, while others, they surged unexpectedly triggered by unexpected details of life – a smell here, a song there, a place we had walked or sat together. It was essential to allow myself the space to feel whatever emotions arose during those times without judgment. This understanding helped me embrace the full range of my feelings and gradually move towards healing.

The journey through grief isn’t just about saying goodbye; it’s about rediscovering a new sense of normalcy – something I am still working on. In the midst of my emotions, I found strength I never knew I had, and I learned to honour my dad’s memory by living a life filled with love and authenticity.

So, to anyone navigating the uncharted waters of grief, know that you are not alone. Your emotions are valid, and your journey is uniquely yours. And as you traverse through the complex landscape of grief, remember that with time, patience, and the support of loved ones you will eventually learn to find and accept a new norm.

Support If You Are Grieving

United Kingdom:

  1. Cruse Bereavement Care
  2. Samaritans
  3. Winston’s Wish
  4. Child Bereavement UK
  5. The Compassionate Friends

United States:

  1. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)
  2. GriefShare
  3. The Dougy Center:
  4. National Alliance for Grieving Children
  5. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.