Grief is a very personal thing, it manifests itself in different ways in all of us. For some people grief is outwardly emotional while others become quiet and introverted, it can cause depression, anxiety and other illnesses while it can also inspire poetry and art. There seem to be no rules to dealing with grief though it would be important for friends and relatives to be aware of the behaviour of their loved ones. This can be difficult in itself, as they will probably also be dealing with their own grief!
Yesterday my father died. He had been fighting illness for a long time, and recently had deteriorated so the news wasn't entirely unexpected. It was still a shock when it came, though. Actually, it was bizarre as I was teaching a bunch of 5 year old's the very basics of chess when I found out about my father's death. The kids were having fun and exploring the new things they were learning while I was getting a metaphorical thump in the guts. But their joy was infectious and the rest of my classes that day kept my mind from dwelling on my father's death overly much.
In fact, for the past month or so, I have done my best to keep myself busy, unbelievably busy. I've thrown myself into work, spent spare moments reading, running, studying chess or spending time with Caroline. I've hardly had a spare moment this last month and it has helped me get through the days without thinking about my father's condition, until I'm too tired to stay awake any longer. I'll probably continue with my hectic work and study schedule for at least the next week, though those who I'm close to are aware that I might not be fully focussed all the time (some might say I'm never fully focussed!).
The fact that I'm living 10,000 miles away is also bizarre. It has made me feel numb rather than anything more outwardly emotional, and it all feels somewhat surreal. I am going back to England later in the year with Caroline, but it will sadly not be to see my Dad. It is 2 years since I last saw him, and he was happy and well then and that is the memory I will take with me in the future. It is then that I'll see the rest of my family in the UK, a strong and supportive group of people who I'm sure will see to it that everyone else in the family is coping with their grief in a positive way.
For myself, I'm now raising a glass of Whiskey in memory to a man who proved, and is still proving, to be my inspiration in the way I conduct my life. Cheers Dad!