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Mari's #JournalingPower

How Journaling Helped Me Cope With The Loss Of My Father

Posted by Mari L. McCarthy on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 @ 08:30 AM

 By Orsolya Hernold

on_a_snowy_evening_560701.jpgIt was the busiest time that year. It was the first spring in our new house and we now had a garden. I was determined to create the perfect garden with flowers, herbs and veggies abundantly growing everywhere. I started two tough projects at work simultaneously, so getting enough sleep was out of the question for months. On top of that, my dentist informed me that I needed to have root canal treatment if I didn't want to lose my tooth. The fear of this sapped most of my energies for weeks.

My mother called and said that my father had fallen and couldn't get up anymore. He was taken to the hospital.

I knew it was coming. He got weaker and weaker every day. His strength was fading. His will to continue, to fight, dimmed. After hearing the long words and sentences at the hospital, when I just kept nodding but surely didn't capture meaning or reason, there was one mission I got my eyes fixed on: we need to get him home. After many weeks of trying to find an in-home nurse, getting the required equipment, and making promises every day at his hospital bed that he would be brought home, he was finally there, with us and his grandchildren. He lived with us for one week.

I cried all night, the day he died. Then I didn't cry for weeks. Kids were there to be taken care of, the funeral had to be organized, and there were projects that couldn't wait. Tears didn't find their way into to my schedule. I moved on and dragged my pain along. Until my sensitive daughter created the space and time for me to mourn: she got into the hospital (only for a day) and I spent the night with her. The surroundings, the inability to sleep, and the familiar worry I felt weeks before finally broke through the dam. And through the veil of my tears, I turned to my journal. Finally. The consolation I have given myself so many times before, and yet somehow I had avoided using it when most needed.

I wrote about him; about the good man, his teachings, his legacy, his sacrifices, his words, his example he set for me. I learned from my pouring words the reasons for having him as my father. The reasons for his leaving at this time. And I found answers to echoing questions of self-pity, anger and pain. Since then, I can cry again. I cry every morning, when I see the old man walking on the running court as I jog past. I'm grateful to him for reminding me of my father. I cry when I see a silhouette that’s similar to his on the street. And I can cry now in front of my kids, when they ask about him. Writing didn't eliminate the pain but it helped me to accept the loss and accept the feelings that I'd rather buried away. I keep writing about him and that still makes me cry. And this is alright. He died two years ago and I still miss and love him.


hernold_orsolya_2014.jpgOrsolya Hernold is the writer of orzola.org, a blog dedicated to personal growth by journaling. Orsolya offers topics with powerful questions to explore, online courses, and printed journals to help readers to create the habit of journaling.

Topics: journaling, loss

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