Four funerals and one wedding – grief part 3

2001 was not a good year for my family. Death knocked on our door nine times over a period of 10 months. Two family members, one cousin and seven very close friends died. Today is my father’s birthday, and I still miss him but the acute grief is long gone. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if it had been four weddings and one funeral instead of the other way around. Would I have changed career, and gone back to school to study mental training, become a life- and business coach and a grief counsellor? Would I even have been living in Stockholm or in Sweden? No, no, no, no and no but I am convinced my father would still have had a say both in terms of my career, and my choice of residence. He was both my friend and my personal advisers in areas as diverse as finance, career, art, wine and men

The grief was great, and the pain cut like fire through my body when my father died. My mother, my brother and I sat by his side the last three days of his life, which he spent in the hospital. Many friends came by to take a last farewell of my father even though he was no longer conscious. But also to support us in our sorrow. Others we kept up to date over the phone. At lunchtime on the third day we had to phone our close friends and say: no more visits. Time was running out, and all hope was gone. The last couple of hours were just ours, my mother’s, my brother’s and mine.We sat at my father’s side when he took his last breath, and it was a gift to be present when he died. It was at that moment that I realized that death is not scary, it just is.

Four funerals and one wedding later, I crashed. The trigger was a song by Celine Dion on the radio; do not ask me what she sang, I have no idea. By now I was afraid to answer the phone, it felt like every time it rang I got news of another person that had died. After six months of extreme stress and grief, plus arranging two funerals I was on the verge of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I cried, I went to therapy and I started studying mental training. A few years later I decided to add grief counsellor to my resume, and it was then everything clicked and I got my emotional healing. 2001 was a bad year for myself and for my family, but life goes on. Several close friends and family members have died since then, and every time it feels like my heart is going to break. It is natural that we continue to miss those who have died, but life does not get any worse because we experience many losses, nor does it get any better. I cannot say that I have grown as a person because of all my sorrow, but I have learned how to manage it. It is important to get emotional healing to be able to see the beauty in life, and most days I do. I am also happy with most of the choices I have made in my life. Dad, I love you and I miss you! Happy Birthday! // Love Marianne

© 2012 Marianne365days – Change Your Life One Day At The Time – All Rights Reserved

 

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34 responses to “Four funerals and one wedding – grief part 3

  1. I read you blog first thing every day on my email and it always inspires me. Thank you!

  2. Wow. what an amazing testimonial. Grief can be so difficult, and although we know in our minds that we will get through it, our hearts and soul have trouble reconciling to the loss. What an amazing example you set for others who watched you overcome your grief.

    You knew exactly where I was coming from when I wrote about Don’s accident last week – the “I don’t think I can take anymore,” comment. What doesn’t kill us truly does make us stronger.

    Paulo Caulho’s post yesterday addresses grief: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/10/03/the-two-jewels/

    Thanks, amiga, for sharing an amazing story and giving us a peek into how bad experiences can be a catalyst for positive choices.
    z

    • Lisa, I hope you’re feeling better and that the doctors finally have told you what you have. Thank you so much for your kind comment, you always manage to say the right things. Sometimes I wonder if you can read my mind, :). No one escapes grief, and I think it’s time for us to stop being so afraid of grief, loss, death, pain etc. Yes, it hurts. Sometimes more than we think that we can endure but it’s not dangerous. Nor will it kill us. Thanks for the link to Mr C’s blog, :). // Marianne

  3. Your post touched my heart. Thanks for sharing. Sorry, to hear about your dad 😦 Happy birthday to him!!!

  4. free penny press

    Now it is my turn to cry in my living room in Florida.. “the pain cut through my body like fire”, yes, that is exactly how I felt when I lost first dad, then My Mom. I held myself in suspended animation over Mom’s death because I truly was not sure I could live happy without her. No sisters, she was my best friend. I still think I have some grieving to do over her death (it was just alittle over a year ago).I know I need to cry more but I want happiness and am fighting that sorrow with a brave sword..You give me much to think about..

    • Lynne, thank you so much for your lovely comment. Your words could be mine, and my mother is my best friend as well. I am incredible grateful that she’s still a part of my life, but I do worry about her health. Accept the grief, don’t be afraid of it but don’t allow it to control your life. Easier said than done. To get emotional healing I can recommend you to contact http://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/. I am trained by them, although in Sweden. //Marianne

  5. I am speechless…I can send you a big, big hug Marianne, thank you for sharing this important moment in your life with us, read you soon, Alexandra

  6. This was your best post ever and now I understand you better because you showed me what’s behind who you are and the loss and sadness which has defined you to some extent. What terrible losses you have had to face and how brave you must be. I so loved this personal sharing and seeing what strength it has taken for you to get where you are. You are amazing. God bless. Leanne

    • Leanne, thank you for your kind and very uplifting words! Life is tough sometimes, but it’s also filled with love, and friendship. The friendship among the wordpress bloggers is amazing, and I appreciate it so much. Several friends have died the past 2 years, due to illness and I miss them a lot! At the same time I am so grateful that we got the opportunity to be friends for awhile, before they moved on. I wish you a lovely weekend! //Marianne

      • Loosing a friend or loved one is always a challenge, a challenge in holding their memory dear and close along with trying to not be overwhelmed by the sadness, and allowing life to proceed, as before, though changed by the loss, that hole you carry. Sadness is hard to carry. Bless you In your courage to talk about this. Leanne

      • Leanne, I appreciate your wonderful words a lot! Thank you…

  7. A very poignant story. We never stop missing them but, the grief eventually diminishes, at least for me, that is what happened. Yes, it’s been about 18 yrs. since my Dad died but, the many happy memories gives me cause for celebration every time I think of him, which is often. My Mom….she’s pushing 90. It makes me very happy, hearing of others who have had great relationships with their Dads, and Moms. I am so glad, you shared this with us. It is okay to grieve. It’s normal, and natural but, it is also normal, and natural for grief to yield to good memories over time.

    • Dave, thank you for your wonderful comment! I agree with you that we never stop missing them, but the grief diminishes. We’re both very lucky to have loving parents, what an amazing gift it is. I am in Spain at the moment, and yesterday we had dinner at one of dad’s favorite restaurants, :).

  8. At some point in our lives everyone experiences grief in the raw. We like you suffered 6 deaths in 6 months. All of them were family members, some close, some not so close, some expected some not. There is always one that teaches you everything you need to know about death and life and for us it was the sudden death of my niece who died in a car accident when she collided with another car head on. That was in 2009/10. We are still grieving although things are better, easier. Thank you for sharing these things with us today.

    • Beverly, thank you for sharing your story. My personal belief is that it’s better for us if we talk openly about our grief. It does hurt a lot when people we love dies, and sometimes it’s hard to understand why. It feels unfair, but it’s a part of life, and noone can avoid it. How long it takes for a person to grieve is of course individual, and it depends on the relationship we had with the person that died. I wish you a lovely weekend! //Marianne

  9. In my Italian origins we believe that as we are born, we prepare to die one day at a time. It’s a very hard reality to admit and we go thought pain just like everybody else, but at least we are prepared. I have lost a few family members this year including my brother. It hasn’t been easy, but distracting myself with the business, it has helped.

    • I personally believe that grief is universal, a broken heart is a broken heart. But each culture has its own traditions when it comes to dealing with death. In Sweden it can take up to 8 weeks before the funeral, and that’s wrong. I want people to talk more about their grief, and about death so we can demystify it. Valentina, I am sorry to hear about your brother, and other family members. It’s sad, and it hurts when people we love die. //Marianne

  10. Thank you Marianne, it has only been three months since my brother is gone and I miss that every day call on Skype. I am sorry you are feeling the void of your father, but they are with us.

  11. Marianne,
    I get your posts as a weekly archive that arrives on Saturdays, and to pen my tongue-in-cheek “What I’ve learned from your posts this week” summary, I alway work my way from the oldest post to the most recent. I was going along fine starting with last Sunday until I got derailed here. There is just no humorous way to handle the trauma that you experienced in 2001.

    Your account is beautifully written. You conveyed both the depth of your pain and the strength of your endurance, and you emerged from all the sorrow with a determination to help others along life’s path. I choked up over your account of losing your dad, and I’d like to share with you an account I wrote about my Mom’s death when I was a guest columnist for our local paper: http://www.ohio.edu/people/robinsoj/Contributors/Beautiful.pdf

    This post was a very personal one. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    –John

    • John, thank very much for your beautiful words, they go straight to my heart! I feel very lucky to have grown up in a loving family with wonderful parents and a fantastic brother. I loved your article about your mother, and your words touched me very deeply. I read it yesterday, and I’ve thought about it a lot since then. Thank you for sharing your article with me! We often talk about dad, and laugh about things he did, or said. He was a brilliant man in many ways, but not the most practical human being, :). Have a nice day! //Marianne

  12. My dad got missing when I was like 15 years old… After that my life changed completely..our condition in home got so bad..my mom was getting crazy and because of this all i had to brake my studies and my door opened to Cyprus instead…where i met with my husband, so i guess everything has a reason although there isn’t a day when i wouldn’t wonder what happened with him… i miss him so much..

    • I’m so sorry to hear that your father is missing, it must be very hard not knowing what happened. I’m glad that you’ve found a family of your own. What did you do in Cyprus?

      • Well actually my brother was the first one to go there, working and i followed him later cause our condition in estonia got really bad cause of family seperation and my mom was not working anymore and we were almost living from air…

      • I’m so sorry to hear about the tough times you had to go through with your family. And now you’ve a beautiful family of your own. I love happy “endings”, :).

      • The same like in your case.. u had such difficult times and now your such a positive influence for everyone.. So i guess everything has a reason and you can either dwell on the negative or use it to create something beautiful…

  13. I understand how you feel, Marianne – so much heartache in such a short time! I hope it gets easier in time (easier said than done, I realize) In the meantime, ((hug))
    Thanks for such an honest post.

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