One year ago this Saturday (Aug. 13), my dad passed away. After watching him suffer for five years, his final days and passing came with a bittersweet sense of relief. He no longer suffered, but it meant having to say good-bye to a good guy.
Grief has a funny way of playing a role in your life after a loved one’s passing. I really thought the wake and the funeral would have been the hardest moments of grief. For weeks leading to his death, I was anxious about his wake and funeral.
Instead, I was uplifted by the stories, memories and sense of love shared at his wake. And I co-eulogized at his funeral without crying.
Alriiiiight. Well, then, what about this:
Next to the wake and funeral, I figured the struggle would be real when faced with the dreaded Year of Firsts.
What’s the Year of Firsts? It’s having the first Christmas, the first birthday, the first Father’s Day, the first Valentine’s Day, the first Anniversary without your loved one with you.
I assumed these special days/events/holidays would have coincided as my most difficult spells of grief this past year. I dreaded the idea of not having him with us during these special family gatherings. But when those days actually arrived, it wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned.
Again, I was wrong.
Grief came in waves at other times, and I couldn’t control when those waves rose and fell.
I realized it was my anticipation of his wake and funeral or celebrating Christmas, my daughter’s first birthday and Father’s Day that brought upon the fear of grief.
The anticipation was the worst part.
And I think that applies to many areas of our life, including work.
Whether it’s sitting down to write your first book, applying for a job or having to return a call to an angry client, the anticipation of the act itself is the worst part. But when you actually write 1,000 words for your book or reach out to the client, it’s not that bad. In fact, we usually feel a sense of relief and pride that we had the courage to do it.
Trusting that notion of how anticipation is likely the hardest part in most situations, it gives me courage to try new things and put myself out there. To let go of the fear and to instead, embrace the anticipation.
And I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what my dad would want me to do.