The unexpected side-effect of losing a loved one

I don’t often write blog posts like this, but there’s something I’ve found myself thinking a lot about since my Dad died last year. Everyone is aware of the common symptoms of grief, but I’ve found my main issue to be something entirely different. It’s an experience/feeling that’s incredibly difficult to explain, but I’m going to do my best to put it down in words. Of course, it’s obvious that when someone who was a huge part of your life is no longer there, things will change a lot. What I was never prepared for though, was the way that losing someone changes not just your external circumstance, but the very essence of who you are as a person. I find it hard to explain fully but, since that day in August of last year, I feel as though I have become a totally different person. I don’t see this as a bad thing – it’s simply a knock-on effect of growing and surviving something as hard as that.

 

My priorities and views have changed so much. Everything suddenly seems somewhat clearer – more black and white. I think it’s being forced to realise that life is not forever that changed those thought processes. I suddenly have no time for gossiping, no time for beating around the bush or evading speaking my mind. I see this as a positive thing; I want to cherish every moment without feeling full of annoyance over petty things I would’ve bottled up in the past. Although this huge shift in my personality is ultimately a positive one, it can still, in other ways, be difficult. There’s this constant feeling of everything being slightly off balance and ‘wrong’, which is again something I think you will only be able to imagine if you’ve experienced it yourself. It’s a feeling of not being able to relate to anyone anymore, which can make socialising feel like a minefield. It feels like I’m expected to be this person, and react in the same way to things as I used to, when really I no longer even recognise that person. I think it stems from the fact that when somethings huge happens in your life, your entire world kind of freezes for a while. It can be hard to accept that everybody else around you moves on so quickly (as is of course naturally going to happen), and can leave you with an unjustified feeling of bitterness, or of being left behind, or of somehow just not being the same anymore.

 

I wrote this post firstly because I find writing my feelings down very therapeutic, but also because I wanted to see if anyone else has ever found themselves feeling similarly. From what I have found online, I know this is a feeling that, though very hard to fully explain, is not uncommon. I think it’s nice to go somewhere and read something you can relate to, so hopefully someone might find comfort in reading this and knowing they’re not alone in what can be quite an isolating feeling. Everyone responds to a big change in their life differently, and it’s important to remember that what you’re feeling is natural and the chances are, you’re not the only one to react in that way.

 

2 Comments

  1. Helen Chapman
    May 3, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    Yes Elise I can totally relate to this. When my son was killed it reinforced very acutely that you never get that minute back again and it changed me greatly.
    The other thing was that I felt guilty if I was happy. Also that people might judge me badly if they saw me enjoying myself after such a tragedy. After a good talking to by me I decided that I would make the most of my life since I was now living for two people and it mustn’t be wasted!
    Good luck to you. You are a special and incredibly talented person.

    • May 9, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Yeah I understand the feeling guilty for being happy and the fear of being judged, but like you said something so terrible happening actually on the other hand makes you realise that you should be happy, because life is short and fragile. Anybody who is close enough to you to matter would also know that there isn’t a set way of dealing with things, and that you don’t have to be grieving all the time or happy all the time either – everyone has their own coping methods. Thank you so much, you’re too kind and I hope you’re doing ok. 🙂

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