My Father died. The 4 day journey – Day One

As a Global Consultant, I  assist people through grief including the loss of a loved one. This is my story of my own journey through grief.

Dad was the first man I loved. It is not until the physical death of your Father that you realise your Dad is truly gone.

Day one…

On the 19th of June 2015, my Dad died, in New Zealand.  He was in discomfort when he died and surrounded by family members.

That same day, I had boarded a flight in Sydney heading to Melbourne for the weekend.  I knew my Dad’s time was close. My phone was left on until the last moment before departure.  It was in that moment  that  I got the call. My Dad was dead.   The doors shut on that flight and for 70 minutes tears flowed down my face.  My friend was sitting next to me, quiet, responding to any indication from me of a need to be filled.  I think if I asked her to stop the plane she would. She became this shield from the world as I went into the world of unreality.

70 minutes passed by and as I walked down the aisle my shield of unreality started to become reality. Life activities began to take over and routine ensued; Go to the baggage carousel to wait with other passengers for luggage; taxi to booked accommodation; check in at the designated accommodation; organise the flight back to NZ.  Doors are opened as I say the words ‘My Dad has died’, condolences are offered, but the shield has been put back up.  Not a lot permeates the fog that now occupies my mind.

Requirements take over, requirements such as a passport that is in Sydney whilst I am in Melbourne.  The  requirements of the cultural custom, the wearing of black coloured clothes though I do not have black clothes with me. Holes in the checklist are promptly remedied. My friend takes me into the local shopping mall and doors part quickly; black Trousers x 2; Two black tee shirts; One pair of black shoes. I am ready or so I thought; bizarre thoughts pop up, such as ‘your hair needs attention’.  A hair salon is found, they can take me straight away so 2 hours are spent in my own solitude whilst my hair is cleaned, dyed and straightened.  ‘Now eat something’ says my friend but the sense of appetite is not there, though I know I should so I chew my way through a tasteless meal.  It had nothing to do with the meal, but it was my sense of taste that was not permeating my fog.

So what do I do next?  I have 12hrs before my flight.   You really have a sense of not knowing what to say, do or where to put yourself, you start something then forget what you are doing, so my friend started the Grief Process with me.  Grief is the sadness at what we perceive is missing.  We do not miss what we perceive is negative, instead we only miss what we perceive is positive.  I found 12 actions and traits that, with my Father’s death, I missed.   We started the process,  I could sense a relief from my Grief, but part of me felt I was dishonouring my Dad, even though he was in my heart.  A sleepless night ensued for both myself and my friend as I waited for the dawning of Day 2.