Oh, how we beat ourselves up when we think we don’t measure up! Ever since my dad passed away at our house on April 22, my mind has been all over the place. It is not just grief, but it’s the details of losing my dad that are wearing me down. I go through times when I am sure that I did all the right things; then there are times when I feel that I didn’t do things well enough.
We are working on selling the house where my folks and I lived for years. Although most of the furniture and furnishings are now in storage, we have to make sure that the house looks its best for those who come to view it. We have a storage unit where everything in the house is for the time being. But the details of where all the stuff goes eventually is constantly on my mind.
I am working on a list now that consists of things that we will use, things we can donate, things we want to offer friends if they want them; and so on. All the things that made up the life that was in that house for so many years comes down to just this: they are things that need new homes. We can’t take them all.
The Crankee Yankee and his brother have worked hard and faithfully to clear the house out and move everything into storage. I thought I could go up with them and help, but the few times I did, all I could do was wander through the rooms and cry. This is just one those times when I can’t seem to get out of my own way.
If I listened to a friend in the same situation, I would be the first one to tell them not to be so hard on themselves. I would hold their hands and tell them that this is part of grieving, and not to push so hard to get through it. I would listen to them and tell them that they won’t always feel this way. I would encourage them to go see a good movie, go out for a good meal, splurge on something just for themselves; whatever it takes to move forward.
Most of all, I would tell them that there is no timeline for grief. No one goes through this easily. Each person walks through sorrow in their own way, and no one has the right to tell them to do it any other way than how they are doing it.
Funny how we can’t take our own advice, though. Our minds tell us that we have done all we could, that our loved ones knew then and know now the vast love we feel for them. Even though we think we didn’t do enough, it was enough to do what we did.
I don’t doubt for a moment that, if my parents could talk with me right now that they would assure me that everything went as well as possible. Most of all, they would say that right until their last breath that they knew that they were loved and cherished.
So, then—when IS enough? The answer is simple: enough is when you say “enough.” Personally, I am not there yet, and I don’t when I will be. But I recognize this time as POP (Part of the Process). Grieving for someone we loved and lost is just that; a process of being aware of the loss. We grieve how we grieve, and no one can tell us the “right way” to do it.
From my own experience I will say that there is always light at the end of the tunnel; the tunnel is not where we live—we live in the light. And in that light are all of our loved ones. There will be a time when we don’t cry but laugh and remember. And that’s the time that we can smile and say “ok, enough is enough.”