February was a tough month for myself and my employees. Not only did we have to deal with the death of Tom, my father, but we also lost our beloved Izzy – who most of you have been following in our office and blog for years.
As much as you prepare for this moment, the experience left us reeling with the seven stages of grief: shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, upward turn, reconstruction and acceptance. And grief does not follow a straight line – it bounces between all the stages.
Strategies for coping with grief are varied – my sisters and I dealt with his death with wine, cheese, chips and togetherness. Bill and Dory cuddled Izzy for weeks to let her know how much she was loved.
Bill and Dory’s Izzy
It helps to know that you won’t feel like this forever. Take care of yourself and allow it to go.
You can handle this, even when you feel like you can’t. Don’t try to stifle or avoid your feelings, make space to experience painful emotions and ask for help if you need it. You’re not alone.
Be gentle with yourself. I found grief to be exhausting so I carved out time for lots of rest. Your feelings are normal – the process makes it more difficult if other people around you tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Allow yourself to feel whatever the heck you want, that’s your normal.
Grief comes in cycles, not a straight line. You reach a point where you feel good, only to feel bad again. Grief has been described as a series of loops.
Bill told me this week that he still thinks about Izzy every day, even though they have a new addition to the family (more to come on that later). Ride the wave.
Kat’s Father Tom
I will miss my father, but I also celebrate his fascinating 93 years of life. He had four daughters who adored him, three wives that he outlasted, was a world traveler and visionary. He delighted in regaling family and friends with his many stories and THAT we will miss most of all.