Its just one word, one word that can control your physical, social and emotional health. It can strike when you least expect it, and can be different for everyone.
I have been pretty lucky, the first 29 years of my life, I didn’t experience many scenarios in my life that led to experience grief. Yes I had lost some pets which was devastating, I lost my husbands grandparents which was tough, but something about knowing they had experienced wonderful long lives somehow made the acceptance stage of grief easier to overcome.
But it is was 2018 when grief became in control of my life. It was March 6th, about 8:30am in Narangba in Queensland on a work trip, a colleague of mine got a phone call to tell us our colleague and close friend had been involved in a significant accident. He passed away later that day at just 28 years of age, leaving behind his wonderful wife, and amazing 3 daughters. We found out while driving back to our hotel room.
Once we parked, we called our other work friend, its a conversation I don’t wish on anyone, having to be the person to tell that a loved one has passed away, it unfortunately wasn’t the first time I would have to do that this year. My heart broke. I got into the room as fast as I could and broke down, I tried my husband, no answer, I tried my mum, no answer, I tried my dad, no answer. Just me, one room, needing to process the biggest loss of my life.
Grief is different for everyone, I was shocked, I was angry, I was scared, anxiety set in. How is life so short, how can someone who was so genuine be taken away in such a fleeting moment? Coming to terms with that we will never have the answers was hard. Its been 9 months and I still have moments.
I become withdrawn, judgemental, poor me, life sucks, and was comparing myself to everyone.
Daniel taught me so much, he gave me self belief, when I felt like I wasn’t succeeding, when I felt like throwing in the towel, when I didn’t believe in myself, he built me up, he made me believe anything is possible, and he is a huge part of why I started Know Your Nutrition. If you don’t chase your goals now, when will you? Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us and life can change in the blink of an eye.
If was August 27th, I knew the news today wasn’t going to be good. My dad had told my brother and I two weeks prior that his doctor had asked for us to come in to here about his health concerns, he had hinted at lung cancer, but I kept telling dad to be positive and not talk himself into anything…although he already knew.
You know those movies, where everyone sits in a room and the doctors says I am sorry, you only have x amount to live. That’s how it went, even to the point where I felt like I was watching myself from the outside. Hearing the diagnosis of a parent or loved one with cancer is shocking, what is even more shocking is hearing they likely only have 2-4 months to live.
Immediately you realise this isn’t about you, it’s about the person, my life from that moment became wanting to make my dad as happy and comfortable as I possibly could, if that meant going straight from work to see him, that’s what we would do, and that’s what we did.
From that day our goals were for my little boy Ted to spend as much time as possibly with his Guman. It was hard, you don’t think about having to assist in changing your dad, the person you viewed as the biggest and strongest man you knew. Seeing that person so vulnerable was probably the most difficult thing of all.
You stay positive though, well you try, and I think naturally you tend to believe when the doctor says 2-4 months, that it will be 2-4 months. So when dad decided it was time to go into hospital care after 5 weeks, we thought that would give him the best care and the longest time with us, however the doctors said it was more likely we were down to days and weeks.
Little did we know that when we said goodbye that first night in hospital, it would be for the last time. I told my dad to take care of himself and gave him a kiss. He knew we were coming back the next day after I finished something off at work.
It was 8:50am, I had already been into our Melbourne Office to finalise some bits and pieces. I text dad to say that I was leaving the city now and would see him about 11am as promised. My husband and little man were meeting me half way to pick me up and we were driving down together. It was 9:20am when I got the call from the hospital to say we needed to get there as soon as possible, and if we weren’t already on our way that we needed to be.
Its hard feeling so out of control, I rang so many people seeing if anyone could get there quickly. expecting we still had a few hours, I mean everyone gets told its the final hours right? Thats what happens in the movies. 20 minutes later, once again, alone, on a metro train carriage I see the hospital number flash up, I know this isn’t good news, I answer, my heart stops as I am told that my dad has passed away.
That feeling all back again. I completely lose it and start crying on the train, the first call is to my husband, absolutely shattered, the next is to my brother, also on his way, then I kept trying my mum who I couldn’t get a hold of, being the person to tell others is seriously the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
With my dad, I went through what is called prepatory grief, knowing what was coming had allowed me to go through some of the grief stages while he was still here, it also gave me the chance to let him know how much he meant to me. It doesn’t mean that the last few months have been easy though. Particularly as his birthday passed and Christmas approached.
I honestly thought he would be here today. I kept telling him he would get another 6 months to see Ted turn 2 and myself turn 30. I was convinced. Dad was never one to do things by halves.
So what does this have to do with health? I have struggled with my hormones due to the significant stress, my cortisol levels are high, my DHEA is low, this has meant I have gained weight and struggled to lose weight when I have tried, I have also had people kindly point out my increased weight…
What has helped me?
+ Meditation – Mindful Meditation has helped me control my anxiety and helped me get to sleep at night.
+ Exercise – F45 has been my saviour, the support of the trainers and friends in the classes who helped me through every day. Checked on me and made sure I was doing OK.
+ Food – Eating as well as I possibly can, but being kind on myself when I don’t get it right
+ Friendships – My husband, my son, and my family who have given me unconditional love, support and understanding
+ Gratitude – Being thankful for the time I had with both Daniel and my Dad, being thankful for the opportunity to be present for my little boy and being able to follow my goals in life.
Its okay not to be okay, and if you ever need a listening ear. I am always hear to talk and share ideas on dealing through difficult times