How I Have Dealt With Death on my Journey
I wanted to talk today about death and how I have dealt with it during my ten-year journey since being diagnosed with Bipolar One.
It’s been three and half years since I lost my grandfather to cancer. I will be writing a piece on the anniversary of when we lost my grandfather in July. Today, my grandfather was on my mind I decided to write about him. Its how I deal with life now. It also should make a good chapter for my memoir. I also was thinking a lot about the time after my grandfather passed, and how I dealt with his death by not dealing.
I didn’t deal with it well for the first year.
I was close to my grandfather most of my life. For the last year that he was with us, I took care of him as he battled cancer. I made sure he made his appointments by driving him. When the home health nurses came I was always there to let them into our house. I made sure that they took good care of him. I made sure my grandfather took his medication and I also made sure he ate three meals a day or as much as he could.
It was one of the worse experiences when my grandfather passed. I went deep into a depression cycle afterward. It was tough for me because for most of the year leading to his passing he was always in good spirits. He was active even though he had to spend most of his time in bed.
When my grandfather passed it was quick. It was sudden when he took a turn for the worst. I remember he was okay during the weekend. My grandfather was lively. Then three days later on July 3, 2014, he was gone.
So many thought went through my mind that day.
I thought for one, I would have more time with my grandfather. My second thought was it happened too fast. I lost him. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. There were times when I didn’t think I would make it leading up to the day of his funeral. I was a mess inside lost in thought of what ifs, and what comes next.
When death happens for those of us living with a mental illness it can be the worst case scenario. When it’s someone you love, and someone you are close with, it seems worse. I am not sure if it’s because of our own morality. Death is never easy to take, but most people bounce back out of necessity. It wasn’t so simple for me.
It was tough for me because I was a few years removed from my last suicide. I didn’t think I would make past my last suicide, and when I did, I had a new appreciation for life. I know that death is inevitable in all our lives. You are not supposed to outlive your parents or grandparents.
I wasn’t in the best place to deal with death when it happened.
For weeks and even months after we lay to rest my grandfather, I struggled in a deep depression cycle. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was starting to be a bad cycle. I would have vivid dreams that my grandfather was still alive. In these dreams, he wouldn’t have to eat, but he would always be there for me. I would dream of different days walking into his room to have conversations. For months that was all, I dreamt about most nights.
When something strange happens in my house I know my grandfather is watching us. I always chalk it up to my grandfather letting us know to never forget. I refer to the room where he spent so many years of his life living in as, “grandpa’s room.”
Death was hard for me to take in 2014 and I can remember it wasn’t until the next summer before I got my depression under control. It helped that I had my therapist. I took a semester off after my grandfather passed because of spiraling depression. It was the beginning of the summer of 2015 that I finally broke my depression cycle.
When I looked at my grandfather’s life it was a good one. But he had no control over getting cancer. My thoughts after my grandfather’s death centered around one simple fact. For years I had no appreciation for life, and to see my grandfather lose his because of something uncontrollable, it changed me. I felt sorry for everything I had put people through during my journey up to that point in time. I got a better perspective.
You still have to live when the people you love pass.
This event became one of the catalysts for why I am in such a good place to even write a post like this one. Three years ago I could hardly discuss it. Writing it gives me perspective and with it, I can continue on my journey.
I like to end my posts with a question. I want to ask my fellow bloggers this: how have you dealt with death in the past?
Always Keep Fighting.
All other pictures from my personal collection