My De Beauvoir Diaries - How to deal with loss and griefThis is a very different post from me today, I will be talking about how I’ve learnt to cope with the death of my Dad, after sadly losing him on New Year’s Day this year.

I don’t usually write personal pieces, but after experiencing such tragedy and reaching out to the Internet for help myself, I hope that sharing my experience might help others in a similar situation. I wont go into detail with regards to my Dad’s illness, I’d like to keep that private, but I will talk you through my experience and what I have learnt.

That dreaded moment

My Dad, Howard Davies, no longer exists in the world.

How is that possible? How can he be here one minute and not the next? There obviously isn’t a ‘God’, no God would let this happen! I hope he’s not in pain now. How will I cope without him? Has he gone to heaven? Does heaven even exist? How will I tell family members? Who do I need to tell? Is this really happening? He’s not really gone, any minute now he will wake up and this will be a bad dream!

Those are just a few of the many thoughts and questions that whirled through my mind constantly during this difficult time. It surprised me that I didn’t drop dead myself, because believe me I felt like I wanted or was going to at times. It’s just amazing how the human body can adapt and change to deal with extreme stress.

Looking back, it’s hard to remember much in detail. I went into autopilot and was just ‘getting things done’. There is so much to do after a person’s death, and having never experienced the situation before, my eyes were well and truly opened. It felt like taking on a new high-pressured job, whilst feeling the worst I had ever felt in my life.

From running around frantically, to sitting there staring at the wall not knowing what to do. I felt denial, sadness, anger, anxiety, nervous-yet-hysterical laughter. You name the emotion; I felt it.

Let yourself grieve

I found this very hard, and if I’m honest I still do. Initially I felt like I couldn’t stop and feel sad, or take time to cry, as I wasn’t sure I would ever manage to stop if I started, and I needed to get things done. My sister, Natalie, and I wanted the funeral to be the best send off it could be, the last farewell to our Dad aka “Big H”.

Nearly 4 months on, and I’m slowly learning to let myself grieve. It’s ok to grieve. It’s actually really important to take that time for yourself; to think and just ‘be’. If you don’t acknowledge your feelings you could end up ill. There is no set timeline for this; it could take weeks, months or even years to go through the grieving process. Everybody handles it differently.

Everybody grieves differently

This is absolutely true. Do not compare yourself to anybody else. You are an individual and you have to do whatever YOU need to do to cope. Some people may sit and cry for days or weeks and not leave the house. Others may feel like they can’t cry or be at home and find comfort being elsewhere and distracted.

Try not to feel like you should be acting, or not acting, in a certain way and ignore any thoughts of people judging you on your reaction. I found that I couldn’t cry for a time and felt incredible guilty. I realise now that this doesn’t mean that I don’t care as much, or that I didn’t love my Dad as much as others, it means that I am my own personality and have my own way of coping. I say go with whatever feels natural for you to do at the time and don’t apologise for it.

Seek help if you need it

If you feel like you are unable to cope alone, please remember that there are lots of support services out there that you can access locally. Ask a friend for help and support, search the Internet, read books at the library or speak to your GP about bereavement counselling. Just remember that you are not alone and help is out there if you need it.

Hold on to the good times

It’s easy to forget all the good times you have experienced when dealing with a death and feeling ‘in crisis’. Emotions, feeling and circumstance can take over and blur your memories. As time goes on, this will get easier and you can start to remember and cherish the great times you spent together.

If I’m ever feeling sad, I always remind myself what sarcastic things my dad would have said to me if he could see me sitting here moping around. “You soft bleeder”, “sling it”, “go and get blind drunk with your friends” to quote a few! There are probably a few more insulting ones that aren’t appropriate to post online!

Remembering these things about my Dad’s very unique personality is what gets me through. Together we grew, we laughed, we cried, we travelled, we ate junk food, watched crappy TV, had far too many pints at the pub, the list goes on… these are the moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.

RIP Howard Davies 14.01.1946 – 01.01.2016

My De Beauvoir Diaries - Dealing with the loss of a loved one

  • I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. I cannot imagine how you must feel. Thanks for sharing what you have learned through this difficult experience.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • Kia / KTS

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know exactly what you’re going through.. my dad died about 2 years ago and my fiance just passed away 3 months ago so.. I really do know what you’re going through. Dealing with grief is different from person to person.

    And for my own experience, I think avoiding grief is the worst thing to do. Facing it and living each day with one foot in front of the other.. that’s what helps you move forward. If you ever need to talk, my email doors are always open for a fellow creative.

    Kia / KTS

    • So sorry that your fiancé just passed away! That’s awful! 🙁

    • Thanks so much Kia. I can only imagine what you are going through and I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. If you ever need to talk I am here too 🙂 feel feel to drop me a line any time. I really hope that you are as well as can be during your very difficult. Big hugs and kisses to you xxxxx

  • Diana Maria

    I’m so sorry for your loss, this was such a heart-felt post. We all deal with grief differently and I do think that repressing your feelings will eventually make it much harder to deal with those feelings if they come rushing back. It’s wonderful that you and your sister worked as one to put together the best funeral you could. Loss is such a hard thing to deal with, but it’s part of life, and it does make us stronger and appreciate the good memories and those who we love much more. I hope you are doing well love!

    My Lovelier Days

    • Hi Diana, thanks so much for your reply. I was unsure whether to write this at first, but I do think that this topic isn’t spoke about enough, even though so many people are dealing it with everyday. We are doing well thank you, taking it one day at a time. Lots of love xxx

  • Melanie Pangilinan

    I am sorry for your loss and can only imagine what your going through. I try my best to not take the people I have in my life for granted because sometimes you only realize what you have when they are gone. Thank you for sharing such a personal post. These are good tips people can look toward if ever they are in the same situation.

    Lots of love,
    Melanie | The Mel Division

    • I totally agree, we should never take anyone for granted because you never know when they might not be around any more. Even if my posts only helps one person in a similar situation, that will be good :-). Lots of love to you xxx

  • I am so sorry to hear about your loss! I honestly don’t know what to say except that you’ll be in my thoughts and I truly feel for you. {{{hugs}}}

    xo, mikéla /

  • I am so sorry for your lost.
    It is very difficult and very depressing to lose your loved ones especially if they are so close to you.

    I hope everything will be fine.

    Have a great day!

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your father- such a huge loss. Wishing you all the best, lady!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Ewa Gasiorowska

    Hi Hayley, I am sorry for your loss. I lost my Dad on 22nd of February this year. I am still learning to cope. Take care, best wishes to you.

  • Elle Linton

    Sorry for your loss 🙁 but thank you for sharing this very insightful post! …My mum specialised in grief, loss and bereave in her teaching days yet the irony is she won’t be here when I need her most, to help me cope with the loss of her. But I sincerely hope it’s a topic I will be able to talk about with those around me, to aid the grieving process. Lots of love xoxo

    • Thanks so much Elle. Very nice to hear from you :-), I hope all is well with you and your blog. Your mum sounds like a very wise person to have around. It’s not an easy topic to talk about, but it really does help if you can. xxxx