October 10, 2020 started out as a normal Saturday. I woke up and did my chores, went to the grocery store with my mom and was just getting ready to sit down in my room when I heard my mom scream. It’s a scream I will never forget. The events that occurred after that would end up changing my life forever.
That day was the day my father passed away in an unexpected accident. It was the day I did my first 911 call, the day I had to step outside of my OCD, the day I had to trust others besides family and the day I grew in my understanding of strength.
It’s almost been a month since my father passed. This month has flown by. I have done so many things that I never thought I could and I’m still standing. I helped plan a funeral, I attended a funeral, I’ve spoken to countless people, I’ve made big decisions and so much more.
The thing I found interesting though is that we have so many books on grieving and loss but oddly enough we don’t have any about OCD and grieving. So I want to start sharing my journey through this process with you. It may be scrambled and I may not say things in ways that make sense to everyone… but really grieving doesn’t make sense. We all experience it differently.
The 5 stages of grief and loss are as follows:
1- Denial and isolation
In the first month of my dad being gone I have experienced each of these at different times. However, for me personally ‘Anger’ has been the most constant.
A few years ago in therapy I was told that anger is a reaction of sadness. Most of the time when you get angry you are actually compensating for sadness; so I’ve been told. After sleepless nights and random bursts of aching emotions, the anger set in. I found myself going into my room and beating my pillows until my fists hurt. I randomly will slam my fists into my leg or start shaking my arms, trying to release tension. I was mad at my dad for leaving (knowing it wasn’t his choice), mad at God for taking him and just mad at all the change.
For someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, control is everything. So, it makes sense that I have been feeling out of control. I moved rooms, I dropped college classes, my eating has changed and it’s a new dynamic at the house. I think Niki is holding up pretty good, but the OCD is struggling constantly at adjusting.
The thing that has helped me is to find the things I can control. I decided that I wanted to watch Christmas movies to get my mind off things, I decided on my own that dropping a couple classes was what I needed to do for me and I’ve decided to focus on myself and my family. In this case, I know that it’s okay to do that.
I’ve found writing to be helpful, in fact I decided to start a ‘Dear Dad’ journal to share my thoughts with him. I’ve set aside a time each week to go see his grave. I’ve set aside time for me and made little achievable goals each day.
I know it’s going to keep getting harder before it gets better. Each day he’s gone hurts a little more. I also know that because of my faith I will see my dad again. I also know that the only way I will see him again in the way I want is to trust in the Lord’s timing and continue to become my best self.
I have felt the love of God in my life more in the past month than I ever expected. The support of my family and friends has been overwhelming. I’ve been in awe of what Christ-like love is and hope that when someone I know is in trouble or hardship, that I can be there just like people were for me.
Please know that no matter how hard it gets you can get through anything. It will suck, it will be hard but it will be worth it in the end. I promise. As always please remember that You Got This!