8 years ago this month, my Dad died. He was poorly but it was unexpected.
It was a massive shock.
I adored my dad. I was on my way to see him when the phone call came through.
I can’t 100% remember who spoke them. I think it was my sister.
I just remember the life force being sucked out of me like one of Harry Potter’s dementors was standing in the room.
To add to this, I was also 5 months pregnant. My only successful pregnancy to date, I had already been through the gut wrenching grief of that.
This baby was doing well but I was always wary and worried, frightened to get to comfortable and secure about it, even before this happened. In only the way someone who has lost a previous pregnancy can be. The uncertainty and cruelty of life flashing before me again.
As well as the pain for my dad, I was terrified the death of him would somehow dislodge the baby, or at very least the grief and sorrow I felt would harm her.
There was so much sadness, the death of a parent, knowing he would never get to meet our child and the joy of my much longed for pregnancy, now overshadowed by grief and worry about grieving.
8 years on and I can look back on that time and see what a huge catalyst for change it was.
It taught me so much.
How it is possible to feel completely conflicting emotions at the same time and honour them both, something I never knew was possible before.
It showed me that grief is a portal..
For change, transformation, truth. Unravelling and rebuilding.
Following my dad’s death, several more ‘griefs’ followed him, in their different guises…
All incredibly painful in their own unique way.
I was followed by the shadow of grief for a good few years. It was heavy and dark.
It clung to me, an unwanted and unspoken constant in my life.
The old version of me died with them, a new me forged under the veil of grief and new motherhood.
Both baptisms of fire nobody can prepare you for.
There was plenty of joy too, that’s the duality of life I have since learnt.
But it was always there, lurking in the shadows. Ready to break me apart at any moment.
On reflection, the shadowy grief cloak I wore for so long was a cocoon.
One of deep transformation.
Did you know when the caterpillar creates its cocoon, it doesn’t just lie in there growing some wings. It completely dissolves. It turns to gloop. But within that gloop there is the DNA of a butterfly. It rebuilds itself from a dissolved mess.
The angel of the dead caterpillar.
It’s not a pretty transition but a necessary one.
Everything it ever was must melt away to be reborn.
This is what happens to a lot of us humans too.
It’s what happened to me. My dad dying was the beginning of my cocoon creation. The catalyst of change.
The things that followed, assisted me in turning to gloop, in allowing it to happen, so I too could grow wings and fly.
When you are in the thick of that metamorphosis, it’s hard to see any positives at all and I won’t insult you with platitudes. I know how it feels.
I can only offer you my experience and honest reflection. That personal hell led me to changing my life completely…for the better (although I wasn’t aware of that at the time).
In a much needed way. One that I was desperate for for years but never had the courage to before.
So, just know, it’s okay to be in the gloop for now, if that’s where you are.
I miss my dad, and I so wish he could of met our daughter but I also honour, with hindsight, that his death set me free..to live a life totally authentic and true to me. One I am not sure I would of if he hadn’t died.
There will never be a good time for a transformation, there is just the time you are in it.
Trust the process.
And know, one day, you too will grow your wings and fly again.
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