Dealing with grief - it's four years since my dad passed away

Just now on Facebook a 'memory' popped up from four years ago when I thanked my clients for their understanding after I was called away to my Dad's bedside in hospital in Cardiff. Not that I actually needed Facebook to remind me. When someone you love has been struggling with an illness like cancer for a long time, it's still the phone call you dread, that call that says you'd better come right now.

And even as I write about that time, I can still feel myself getting emotional right now, four years later. Not in the same raw way that it did in the months after he died when I couldn't even mention his name, but in that way we get for those we have loved and who have been an important part of our lives yet are no longer with us. Sure, it has elements of sadness and loss within that emotion, but is also has joy and love and hope because I always aim to continue to be the best son I can be to my Dad through how I support and nurture my children.

Of course I can't change the past, I can't turn back the clock and see him again and in many ways we all have to learn to accept that, when we lose a loved one, no amount of tears or sadness or longing can change the facts.

However, one thing I did in those long hospital days (my Dad had a strong heart and defied the opinion of the doctors by holding out for another week...we like to think because he wanted to hear the fireworks one last time!): I made the decision to deliberately recall many, many of the happy times that we experienced together. And there were many. We had long, funny conversations, we went for walks along the cliffs on holidays, we watched Wales play rugby in Cardiff and much more.

Even in those dark days, I spent time vividly recalling and talking about those happy moments so that I was clear in my mind that my memory would not be overwhelmingly filled with that hospital but rather I would have many shared chapters of life to recall and share with my kids and family.

Yes I went through the subsequent grief process with tears and despair and anger, yet what helped me was having these highlights to find comfort and happiness within. I think my Dad would have liked that.

dealing with grief dan regan hypnotherapy 

And although none of us can change the past, what we do have control over is how we carry that into the future. 

People often talk about how death, illness or other unfortunate events give them a renewed sense of persepctive. That is, that they stop focusing on the trivial things in life and things that really don't matter and instead find a greater level of gratitude for what they do have. This could be a greater level of gratitude for their health or even that they are still alive and breathing. It may be a gratitude for having the ability to stand in the sunshine or watch the birds in the trees. Maybe it is for having a roof over their heads and food to eat and water to drink.

And for me it certainly carries into a gratitude and appreciation for my little family. Yes my kids can drive my nuts sometimes yet all the while I can appreciate, recognise and enjoy that they are part of my life and I'm part of theirs. And the whole while I can seek to carry on my father's memory in being the best Dad I can be to my kids so that we too will share many, many moments of happiness that we can recall for many years to come.

Dan