Thank you Allison Galbraith – Macintosh Wright
The story, or trauma, I would like to share is the death of my father five years ago. He died unexpectedly, of a heart attack, aged 68. He collapsed at work and died four days later, having never regained consciousness.
It was the first time anyone so close to me had died. What surprised me and what I particularly want to share is that this trauma was a very ‘active’ experience in that it wasn’t just shock or grief that you eventually recover from, but that there were so many different facets to it, and it surprised me that some of them were so positive! Denial did play a huge part during the initial twenty-four hours. Shock and denial. The seriousness of the situation seemed on a different level from one I could comprehend.
A first positive incident…
A few days after my Dad died, my aunt and uncle came to stay with us. Our uncle was asked to cook a meal because we knew he would prefer to be away from all the emotional stuff. The meal, for about ten of us was a good distracting challenge for him. It gave us great amusement especially as he sipped at his wine regularly. We were well entertained. He was a meticulous cook, whereas my father was a ‘pans everywhere’ cook. And it struck me that we would never have had that entertainment if my Dad had been around because he would have been the one doing the cooking.
An important realisation…
I realised my Dad had to die before I could see that all my life I had been jealous of the attention he gave to my brother. Of course, once my Dad wasn’t around, there was nothing to be jealous of any more. And although we have never discussed it, I know something shifted for my brother too because one evening a few days after the heart attack, I remember looking across the table at him and he had a look on his face that I can only describe as love. I had no formal help to manage my grief but I did have lots of support from my siblings, their partners, other family and my friends. I couldn’t have done it without them. That time felt like I was living in a bubble: a slightly surreal experience.
We are five years down the line now and we are all okay, including my Mum. She needs a lot of emotional support which she gets and as for her drinking, well she still overindulges now and again but she has taken control herself because she does not have Dad to rely on now. She has become quite independent and she travels by bus and airplane to visit me. My Dad would be really proud of her.
Allison Galbraith – Macintosh Wright
When I wrote my book Survive and Thrive after Trauma in 2012 a section shares interviews with those now thriving after an emotional challenge. Those I interviewed who shared their message will have continued along their path of increased learning, self joy and self awareness. We are not alone; should we choose we can learn from others, take and use information generously shared, be encouraged and in some cases, be enlightened.