“Everything will be ok” Circled in my head over and over again, was it because every second person I saw would whisper it in my ear as they said their condolences or was it because I was trying to convince myself that everything was going to be ok?
It was 10 am and the morning after, a mother and her 6 children were about to take on the task of organising a funeral, at the age of 25 I thought I would have my father for many, many more year’s to come, yet here I was staring at a laminated paper with pictures of numerous styles of coffins. I Felt that familiar feeling in my stomach, it was twisting and turning like I wanted to be sick, my breathing was becoming shallow, and I needed an out, I was telling myself this is not the time to panic Mary, you need to help your family do this, so there I was whispering to myself, everything will be ok.
A few hours later, and here I was with one of my sisters taking a deep breath as we entered a shopping centre. “hi girls how can we help today?” my sister and I looked at each other with confused faces, we hadn’t really thought through how difficult this was going to be “we are looking for a skirt suit for our mother” having a retail background myself I knew already the question to follow, “whats the occasion?” she said with a big warm smile on her face.
“Our father’s funeral” we said in sync, it sounded like we had both rehearsed the answer in our mind a million times over, it didn’t sound natural, it felt surreal to be saying the words. That day from the two lovely shop assistants we received genuine comfort, they made a difficult task as smooth as possible for us, as we left the store I whispered to myself everything will be ok.
We spent the next two nights seated in a hall as per my culture tradition, allowing numerous amount of people to drop by and pay their respects. Let me paint a picture for you of the seating plan, my family sat in a line and those who came to pay respects would do so then would take a seat opposite to my family, for someone with anxiety, and different types of anxiety, social anxiety been one of them, this lay out is no where near ideal to us. My heart was racing, my hands where becoming clammy, i could see eye’s bore into mine as I looked up and the anxiety was slowly increasing, thoughts where running through my mind at a million miles an hour, did they know I was trying my hardest to avoid a anxiety attack right this moment, why are they staring at me like that I would constantly ask myself. I leant over to my sister and said “I don’t know how much longer I can do this” and then I was whispering to myself everything will be ok.
As we were leaving the hall a family friends mother approached me, ill never forget her words “I actually didn’t recognise you tonight, let it go, let it out” That night I went home I closed my bedroom door and cried, I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore and whispered to myself was everything going to be ok?
No, everything may have seemed ok on an outside view, but on the inside I was battling this constant feeling of anxiety, a constant fear, a fear of the unknown, a fear of losing a grip of my anxiety again, a fear of being judged, a fear of what life was going to be like with out my dad.
On the day of my fathers funeral I stopped whispering to myself everything will be ok, because that is what everyone told me, that’s not what I thought, I had no clue if everything was going to be ok. I had just watched my fathers coffin been lowered into the ground and I knew everything was not going to be ok.
Nearly 6 months later there is still no right way to grieve and there is still no right way to deal with anxiety and the death of your parent, but what I can do is, I can talk about it, I can lift that weight off my shoulders and hopefully help you if you have just lost someone too, and bring comfort to you that there is no right or wrong way or a timeframe to grieve someone dear to you.
Everything might not be ok right now, but eventually, everything will be ok.