I thought I was doing quite well after my Dad's death. Unfortunately, being alone with Dad and holding his hand as he took his last breaths was more traumatic than I'd realized. I thought all those tears I shed were healthy, and of course they were, but little did I realise that the real pain had yet to come. That first phase of grief - shock, disbelief, numbness - is always a time of ritual mourning. That is, we were busy with the restless over-activity of managing all the business and details of the Celebration of Life, the will, getting the death certificates, responding to friends' condolences, etc.
The second phase of grief is what I believe I experienced over the last few days. The intensity of the pain was unbelieveable and apparently can last for days, weeks, or even months. I've just been through 4 days of that intensity and this morning feel like I've been through the proverbial wringer. I know I'll be okay (having been through it before with my husband and my mother), but right now I'm a limp rag. One night I slept for over 14 hours, waking up to sensations of total body numbness as though I'd been drugged. Then Friday night I didn't sleep at all, getting up several times in the night to play games on the computer. I finally got up close to 6:00 am when the newspaper arrived - with the official obituary. I think that's when it really hit - the finality of it all when I saw it in writing. What followed was extreme nausea, fitful sleeping complete with vivid, crazy dreams from the exhaustion that had set in, headaches, and crying all the way from gulping sobs to quiet and relentless weeping. I felt dizzy, weak, and as though I weren't even real myself.
I'm coming back now. I guess this is what they call the third stage of grief. It will take time as we still have Dad's reception on Oct. 11th, and then all the business part won't be completely over until tax time in April. It's a strange thing knowing you're the older generation now and will be the next ones to go on that final journey.
But I'm okay for now. Life goes on and already I've stripped the bed and have the first load of laundry in. I'm going to have a shower, put on some clothes and even a touch of makeup, and if the rain lets up, maybe go for a walk and get some fresh air.