The Survivor's Grief

My dad died June 18, 2018 and the earth stopped turning.


My dad died 3:22am June 18, 2018. It was one of the worst days of my life. I sat by his bedside for 26 hours waiting and watching. Listening to doctors come in and out, taking tissues from his wonderful nurse Carley and crying so hard and so much I had an asthma attack. My dad never wanted to be connected to a ventilator and I spent all day telling people, "he didn't want that" "he doesn't want this". And when the moment finally happened and it was all over I was numb.

I arrived home at 4am and slept until 9am. That was all the sleep I had. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday crying, every muscle in my body hurt, they still do. I went to the funeral home with my mom and helped make arrangements. I went into the dreaded casket room and helped pick out the beautiful silver, casket my father was laid in. I cried as I held his clothes, trying to pick out something nice, but not something that he would hate if he was still alive. And I held my moms hand as she picked out the short poem that went inside his memorial cards. It was long, and draining but I am so glad I did it.

We had his funeral on Friday. The Beach Boys played during the viewing as I stood next to my mom and hugged and thanked over 200 people. My dad never knew a stranger. It was a beautiful service, one I will remember for the rest of my life. The party we had for him afterward out the biggest smile on my face. All of my dads childhood friends were there, all the family and massive amounts of food and music. It was everything he always said he wanted.

It's been one week since my dad died. One week and one day. And I think about him all the time. I think of the "what if's" the "remember when's" and I cry. Not all day long like I did, but I cry. I fight back tears every minute of every day. Everything in our house reminds me of him, everything in this small town reminds me of him. I wonder if he would still be alive if I would have texted him back, I wonder if he would still be alive if I would have talked to him more in the past three months. I wonder all the time.

Most people suffer from survivor's guilt, when they lived and the person they were with did not. I however consider my situation Survivor's Grief. I am a live, I don't have a head trauma, I am not suffering from chronic pain or autoimmune diseases. I survived, but I am I drenched in grief. I am drowning in an ocean of emotions and I can't figure out how to swim to the top, I can't figure out how to make my lungs contract and push oxygen into my body and keep my heart pumping. I have Survivor's Grief, and one day I will be okay. That day may not be today, it may not be months from now, but I will eventually learn how to put the pieces of myself back together and live without my dad.

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Therapy Can Help With Not Only Your Problems But FInding Yourself As Well

Our mental health is just as important as our bodily organs.


Therapy is not a bad thing. It is not a dirty word, or something gross or to be ashamed of. Therapy is a support system and something to allow you that time and area to grieve, cry, yell, laugh, and express yourself in ways you can't anywhere else.

Therapy does not mean you are crazy or need to be medicated. Although if you need medication, by all means, take it, and accept the help you are being offered. Therapy is a place to work on yourself, with no judgment, no shame, and nothing holding you back.

I go to therapy. I am medicated.

I suffer from PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety.

My dad died in 2018, and my whole life fell apart. I was faced with the realization of having only one parent. I came to the realization my father was not always a nice man, and I had to learn how to be me. So many things happening at once, along with going through the grieving process of my father's sudden death.

"Who is Jessica?" my mom, my roommate, and my therapist asked me this all the time. Who am I? What do I want? What do I like? Where do I wanna go? All these questions about me, because it's time to take care of me, and truthfully the answer is; I don't know.

Jessica has always been this person who takes care of others. Cooks, cleans, worries about bills, does her homework and other people's. Jessica grew up a bit differently than everyone else, she grew up not building a personal identity, but building other people up.

I attend therapy every three weeks. Sometimes that is too much to close together, and sometimes but the third week I am eating away at my skin and needing to sit in front of my therapist. Therapy does help, it helps in ways you would never realize it does. Therapy has taught me deep breathing techniques, mindfulness, and it is helping me work through my grief, guilt, anger, and sadness.

My therapist is the one who diagnosed me with PTSD, which helped me understand why I was having these constant vicious, crystal clear, flashbacks. I called them visions, it was the best way to explain it. Like I was living it and seeing it all happen over and over again. But I knew I wasn't there, It was like these 'visions' took over my eyesight of what I was currently looking at. It felt like I was literally being pulled out of my current moment and someone was playing a movie reel of the worst week of my life.

My therapist found that and helps me with that because I talk to her. I tell her things because I feel safe there. If you do not feel safe with your therapist, or feel like you talk to them openly and comfortably that can mean two things.

One, you are not ready for therapy. You have started the process of going, and planted the seed of mental health help in your mind, but you have somethings still holding you back, and that is okay. Go at your own pace.

Second, you have the wrong therapist. My first therapist was an older man, and there was no connection between us. I did not go back. My current therapist appears to be closer to my age when we talk she takes an interest in what I am saying. Not the whole, "that's her job, you are paying her to care." but like she actually understands where I am coming from.

Nikki does not take notes when we talk, so I don't feel like some lab experiment. She has learned the names of the people I talk about and who they are (friends, family, sisters), she does not have to keep asking me who so-and-so is. We click.

Go to therapy, even if you haven't had a traumatic experience in your life. It is a wondrous thing and you will be so surprised by what you will find out about yourself, and how to help yourself.

If you have had a traumatic experience in your life, go to therapy. Get the help you deserve. Our mental health will eventually control our entire like, we need to keep it just as healthy as we do our blood pressure.

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