I had my appendix out when I was 22. It sucked. It hurt to sit up. It hurt to lay down. It hurt to use the bathroom. It hurt to walk. It just hurt. And all I wanted to do was enjoy the simple pleasure of kneeling over to tie my shoe without buckling over in pain.
Imagine if I had ignored my reality and just tried to jump back into normal life right after surgery. Not realistic. Funny how this is obvious when it comes to the loss of one's appendix, but not so much when you think about facing the loss of a loved one.
To come face to face with grief-- to really see it and understand what it means for your life, and then to treat yourself accordingly-- I imagine this is like what it would be to remain awake through surgery. To which I reply, "Stick that i.v. in me, son!"
But eventually the drugs and the laughing gas wear off and you do have to rehabilitate yourself. You gotta treat yourself gently and accept the fact that you are wounded. You shouldn't just jump back up and resume building houses, running marathons, climbing the sides of mountains, and stuff. You have to face reality or it will smack you in the face.
It did that to me. About two years back my grief counselor told me that if you don't pay attention to grief it'll just sit there quietly waiting for you. If you kick it out of your house, you'll find it sitting patiently at your front door. You gotta confront it. I have allowed lots of things to distract me from grief: school, work, relationships... and just stuff. But every time the distraction goes away, guess what is waiting for me at my door? That's right.
I think writing the tribute to my dad got the wheels greased for me to start facing my grief more openly. The machine is now in motion after so much time sitting stagnant, wanting to write but unable to find words. I am open now. This is a good thing, because I've been meaning to do this for a while.