Fishing With My Dad

I’m sharing this because a couple of months ago, my dad shared an article with me that really helped me put the feelings I experienced after my Grandpa passed away, and the coping mechanisms I fudged together by myself when dealing with the loss of my Grandad a few years prior, into something solid and real and reassuring. It talks about a sixth stage of grief — something that can ‘help find meaning after loss’, because ‘the final stage of acceptance isn’t enough’. It’s not a quick fix, you have to be in the right place to reach it, but it’s pretty liberating when you do. It’s coined by ‘grief expert’ David Kessler who says it’s about helping to ‘remember with more love than pain’.

God wasn’t in the Earthquake or the Tornado

One tip he gives to do this is to ‘water the good memories’ by regularly sharing stories and thinking about how they enriched our every day. He suggests asking yourself, ‘What memories of their life to I want to keep alive? What quality of them now lives in me? What memories can we pass on to others?’. For me, it made so much sense. My Grandad served as a telegraphist in WWII’s Arctic Convoys — which we’re all extremely proud of (and explains why he was so bloody good at Guardian Cryptic Crosswords).

He passed away honoring his colleagues at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day a few years ago, and I desperately wanted to keep that respect and remembrance alive for him. It took me until 2018 but I finally managed to work up the courage to attend a Remembrance Sunday service and it felt really good to share the positive memories and achievements. Reading about the ‘sixth stage of grief’ helped me understand why that was, and gave me something positive to focus on when reaching this anniversary milestone of losing Grandpa…

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