In the last few months, I have been talking about Job Loss Grief and the grief you feel when you lose a loved one. Right now I am experiencing grief over the death of my father. And I can tell you, I am numb.
As in job loss grief the first stage is shock/denial. The stage you immediately enter. It is a stage when you haven’t fully processed the loss. By going into autopilot your mind protects you from the loss to enable you to do the things that need to be done. I am there. I am numb and don’t feel engaged with my surroundings. I am going through the motions of life but not feeling anything.
He suffered cardiac arrest on a Wednesday. He was gone by the next Wednesday. But what happened in between was a roller coaster of emotions in forms of worry and concern, hope and happiness, uncertainty and confusion then finally loss.
The day he had a cardiac arrest, my mother and I got to the hospital and were shown to the family room. It was a small room, not much larger than a closet. There we waited for the doctor to come in and ask us questions, but not revealing anything more than they were working on him. In this room, we could only worry and fear the worse. We were finally able to see him, but he wasn’t conscious. He remained that way for several days. We could only hope and pray for him to awake without brain damage. One day, we arrived at my dad’s room to find him awake.
Although we were hopeful and glad to see him sitting up, we wondered if he knew who we were. I can only guess that he did. He was able to squeeze my mother’s hand on demand and nod his head yes or shake his head no. But did he actually know? I hope so. His only words were he wanted to go home. He was sitting up in a chair, just looking at each of us. Since he had been on a ventilator for days, his throat was dry and irritated which made it difficult to understand him. He was constantly tugging at the wires and tubes that connected him to machines. This day of was a blessing because the next day when we got to his room, he wasn’t aware of anything and was on a higher level of oxygen. The dad from the day before wasn’t gone. Was he coming back? We didn’t know.
But over the next couple of days, we realized he wasn’t coming back to where he was the week before. And finally the day came one week to the day he entered the hospital when a decision needed to be made. How much longer could he be given oxygen at hurricane force in order to survive? We were confused and uncertain if we were making the right decision. It was a tough decision to make, but we knew we had to make it. After the decision had been made to let nature take its course, it only took 45 minutes for the end to come. It wasn’t easy to watch my dad slowly slip away. But knowing he would be at peace, and not suffer anymore, confirmed we did the right thing.
The pain is still there and will be for a while. Loss isn’t easy and certainly not fun. The pain will continue and will go through different phases and manifestations. But there is one thing I learned about job loss grief and grief from losing a loved one. You can get another job, but you can’t get another dad. I will miss my dad. He is gone but not forgotten. Love you Dad!
In the coming weeks, I will not only share with you my usual information about job loss grief, but I will share my journey as I grieve my father. How are you handling your grief for the loss of your job and/or loved one? Please comment below.
Arleen Bradley is a certified career coach and certified job loss recovery coach. She assists clients in moving beyond job loss grief in order to land dream jobs. To learn more about the Job Loss Recovery Program and how you can benefit from it, log on to www.arleenbradley.com.