6 months ago today my family spent the day at my dad’s bedside…

We held his hand. We talked to him. We told him what an amazing husband, dad and grandfather he was…

We told him it was ok to let go. That we would be ok. That we’d take care of each other…

It was the longest day of my life.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 6 months already.

It’s interesting to look at my “after Alzheimer’s” journey.  His death wasn’t an END per say but the beginning of a new reality.

Life without worrying about what was to come… what we would do “if this happened” or “when we get to that stage”… my dad’s circle is complete.

For some reason I thought it would be easier to move on.  That the pre-grieving would help make the after-death grieving simpler, less unpredictable.

I’ve learned a few things about grief expectations: don’t have them.

Everyone’s experience, reactions and emotions will be different. Let yours be yours – don’t judge it and by all means, don’t compare it to what other people are (or seem to be) feeling. Cry if you want to, give yourself time and space to let your feelings bubble up and out so they can dissipate.

At first it may feel like time is standing still – that you are living in a fog that slows you down and tries to pull you under.  Don’t let it keep you.

Life will go on. The days will pass, holidays will come and go, milestones – like “6 months ago today he died” – will happen.

I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. Things aren’t a chore I have to get done before I get to go to bed again but they are exciting, inspiring and fun. There is light at the end of the tunnel…

I’m sure there will be more tears and more times when I miss my dad and wish he was back with me. But I KNOW he wouldn’t want me spending a lot of my time looking back – he was a firm believer in experiencing all that life has to offer while you have the chance and the inclination.

Tonight, if it isn’t too cloudy, I’ll look up at the stars and give a toast to my dad. Even if he isn’t with me physically, he will always be in my heart.

– Tara Reed

P.S.  A great book I’m reading that is helping with the “after” journey is Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again – you can find it on Amazon. [affiliate link]