Life After Death: Living with our New Reality


Written on January 21, 2017

Losing Deck is like losing a limb.

His presence in my life is so significant even though he lives so far away (we chat and talk ALL the time) that even today, I get shocked by the thought that I won’t ever see him again in my lifetime.  I can’t imagine how much more difficult it must be for my parents and sister-in-law.

deck-40th-day-mass

Which is why I am so happy that we managed to find an excellent grief counsellor who, despite her full schedule, managed to squeeze in my parents and sister-in-law.  Their sessions started a week after his passing.

Every time they go to a therapy session, I can see them lift emotionally and the change is so significant that it’s actually physically apparent.   From the beginning, the counsellor warned them that they will go naturally through lows and highs.  One day, they may seem perfectly fine but the next tears can’t stop flowing.  The counsellor assured them it is perfectly normal and they should allow the tears if they come as it’s an integral part of healing.  She assured them that with time, the lows won’t be as bad as they used to be in the beginning.  Counseling won’t spare them from the pain, it will only speed up the healing process.

We did everything we could to make the initial weeks a little easier, especially as it was the Christmas season which was bound to make the pain of loss even more painful — the loss more deeply felt.  Going on a Christmas vacation helped because we were kept busy and had excellent company because our uncle and his entire family so thoughtfully decided to join us.   We were making new memories in the midst of our grief.

japan-dec-2016

In the haze of our grief, we were reminding ourselves that it was OK for us to be happy.

My mother wore yellow on New Year’s Day.  She bravely told us she chose the color yellow because she KNOWS the sun will shine again in our lives.  Right now it may seem dark because of Deck’s passing but the sun is just hiding behind the clouds.  She reminded us that life can’t stop because of one person when there are 8 more people still alive in the family.

I went back to Cebu, happy and assured that healing has begun in my parents’ home.

I was so busy worrying about my parents and sister-in-law, I forgot about myself.

People tend to forget that I’m also grieving so it’s natural for me to forget as well.

I haven’t gone back to Zumba classes or practice Yoga since my brother passed….  people who know me know how unlike me that is.

I convinced myself that I haven’t gone back to exercise classes because I am so busy with work but a few days ago, I was jolted into the realization that this wasn’t entirely true.

The fact is, if I wanted to go back to my exercise classes, I could have at any point in time.  I used to make time for exercise, I could have easily done it again.

I realized that I didn’t go back because I didn’t have the energy or lost the drive to go back to my old schedule.  I suddenly hit me that subconsciously, I didn’t want to go back to my old schedule because nothing can bring back life the way it was.    At some deep level, it felt like a disloyalty to go back….

It’s not logical at all… but there it was.  I thought I was okay because for the most part, I am…. but apparently at some deep level, I’m not okay.

So yesterday, I instructed everyone around me to remind me to stop working at 1:15 PM and go to Zumba class.  I managed to drag myself to Zumba class for the first time and it felt liberating to exercise once more.

In my head… I KNOW I shouldn’t feel guilty to allow life to go on.  I’ve told my parents and Jacky enough times.  Apparently, even for the messenger, It’s easier said than done.

Going back to Zumba class is one step towards my own personal healing.

That evening I talked to my husband and admitted that I’m still not okay.  I miss Deck everyday.  I cried, which is a surprisingly rare occurrence,  and it felt really good.

I miss him and I mourn my loss but my life cannot stop.  At the same time, I have to be okay with admitting that I’m not okay.   Only then can I heal too.


Note: I wrote this January 2017 but didn’t have the heart to replace my post about Deck as the top entry in my blog.

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