Now that I’ve taken care of the business of death, I no longer need to numb myself from the pain of loss. Now I cry. Softly. Quietly. The tears roll down my cheeks. I miss my dad. I really miss him.
Unlike grief theories that propose defined stages, grief is not linear, nor is it universal. We grieve differently.
Now I feel nothing. I’m numb. My psychologist describes it as “taking care of business,” reframing what I’m going through, my coping mechanism, in a positive way.
Quoting MedlinePlus, NIH, U.S. National Library of Medicine at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001530.htm
People’s responses to grief will be different, depending on the circumstances of the death. For example, if the person who died had a chronic illness, the death may have been expected. The end of the person’s suffering might even have come as a relief. If the death was accidental or violent, coming to a stage of acceptance might take longer.
One way to describe grief is in five stages. These reactions might not occur in a specific order, and can occur together. Not everyone experiences all of these emotions:
- Denial, disbelief, numbness
- Anger, blaming others
- Bargaining (for instance, “If I am cured of this cancer, I will never smoke again.”)
- Depressed mood, sadness, and crying
- Acceptance, coming to terms
People who are grieving may have crying spells, trouble sleeping, and lack of productivity at work.
My father passed away. His illness and death took us by surprise. We had no idea that he had lung cancer, nor that his infection was severe, until last week.
Thank you for your love, support, and prayers.
When I was a little girl, at bedtime I sent my prayers to the dead. One at a time, I sent them my love, hugs, and kisses. Eventually, I tired, sent a big hug to everyone else, and fell asleep. Some people count sheep. I prayed to and for everyone who had ever lived.
Now, I pray for peace. I pray for freedom from pain. I pray for my father.
Tuesday night I brought my father to the emergency room due to shortness of breath. When I helped him out of my car, I touched his leg and was shocked at how swollen it was.
He’d been battling cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection. I had no idea how bad his infection had become and was furious that the medical treatment he had received hadn’t killed the bacteria.
Turns out his infection and labored breathing were signs of something far more sinister.
The hospital scanned his leg and his chest. Although my father quit smoking over thirty years ago, decades of smoking since he was thirteen led to lung cancer.
My sister flew down the next day to help. I spent Tuesday night with him in his hospital room. She spent the next night. Neither of us, nor our father, got any sleep.
Due to dementia, my father didn’t understand what was going on and removed the IV that delivered antibiotics and pain medication. The hospital staff removed his IV and gave him medication orally.
My sister and I repeatedly argued with hospital staff over pain medication. Nurses hesitated to give him prescribed doses of opiates on a regular schedule. My sister and I even yelled at a doctor who wanted him off opiates and on high dose acetaminophen. Our concern was our father’s comfort, not the hospital’s liability.
Our father is stoic and macho. He told female nurses that he was fine. He had no such reservations when a male patient technician helped him onto his commode or when his male nurse asked him if he was in pain.
You want to know how much pain a patient is in? Ask those who do the dirty work, those who lift and move the patient. Ask the patient technician, the caregivers, especially when the patient has dementia or doesn’t show his vulnerability to women aside from his wife and daughters. We knew that he was in pain.
Now he is back living with our mother in memory care, receiving hospice services. Pain management and his comfort are paramount.
Please pray for peace, comfort, and freedom from pain. Thank you.