When Grief hits HARD

I had a breakdown for the first time in years. Nothing like it except for those breakdowns in the first months after my dad’s death. I was a sloppy, snotty, heap of mess on my bedroom floor.

Some things are better off not talked about. Or so we think. I am admitting that I am human and my breakdown was ugly. But it was real, raw, emotional, and to be honest, much needed.

It was a hard day dealing with the actions of one of my kids. We are in the process of getting him help, but in the mean time, we are truly doing the best we can with the resources given to us. I am also in the process of trying, again, to get VA benefits for my mom that I feel is rightfully hers. It was an overwhelming day. A family member And I were discussing options, along with frustrations, and at one point in our conversation, he said, ‘you are fighting for your dad.’ I instantly felt a lump in my throat with tears to follow. I wiped away the tears and finished the conversation. I made sure my kids were content (they had their kindles, so they were content for awhile!) and I went to my room and locked the door. I immediately let it all out. I cried and sobbed. I was a rocking, ball of a mess on my bedroom floor. I felt so much heartache and loss at that moment. I felt the devastating hole of grief left in my soul. It was like I found out my dad died all over again. Between my sobs, I cried for my dad. I told him I wanted him here. I missed him so much! I just wanted to call him and chat with him.

I have a couple saved voicemails from him. I downloaded and saved them so I will always be able to hear his voice. I haven’t played them at all. I would lose it if I did. Finally, after 4 and a half years, I played them. The first voicemail was my dad calling me to see how my father in law was doing (he had recently had major back surgery at that time). I could hear the happiness in his voice. He loved my father in law. They were both navy veterans who served in Vietnam. My dad had so much compassion for people, dispite his gruff exterior. A gentle giant my father in law would say. I played that message a few more times. It felt so good to hear his voice. The next message wasn’t as chipper. This voicemail was a month or two before he passed. He was depressed and I could hear it in his voice. He was calling to just talk. He was so defeated at the end. He didn’t have a will you live. We all thought he would get better after his hormone shot wore off. There were so many If Only’s I started thinking about. If only he had patience and waited for his next drs appt. If only he would take depression medication. If only he would start feeling better.

During this ugly grief episode, I dropped to my knees to pray. I couldn’t even put into words what was going on in my head. I just didn’t know what to do anymore. So many thoughts coming back from those first vulnerable months. I was just asking for help. Help to get through this. Help to feel peace again. Help to ease my pain of missing him. Then I looked over at my phone, and saw that my sister was calling me. Thank goodness. It was good to hear her voice and to listen about her day.

Fast forward a couple days later. I was still feeling exhausted from my grief. I was burned out. I felt like my prayers weren’t answered. But I should know that God always answers our prayers, in His timing.

I had a spa day with friends. It was my best friends birthday. She tried getting us into different spas but they were booked. She finally found a spa we could all go too. As I am waiting for my massage, a familiar face peeks into the waiting room I was in, calling me for my massage. As soon as we both enter the hallway, we just stare at each other, smiling. Then we gave each other the biggest hug. It was my dad’s best friend’s ex wife. I grew up going to their garage to reload bullets with my dad, attend parties where my dad did his crazy seizure dance on the dance floor, swimming, and where I babysat her girls. She asked how is it that we are here at this moment, and she happens to be the one giving my massage?! I believe that was the answer to my prayers. We ended up talking the whole time about my dad and our families. It was so amazing to experience that moment.

Later that afternoon I got a call from my dads best friend. We talked about how bizarre it was that I got his ex wife of all people to give me a massage. He said he had even more bizarre details to add. He was in his garage, and put some music on that he hadn’t listened to for awhile. It happened to be my dad’s favorite song. He got to thinking about my dad and reminiscing about the fun times they had over the years. After awhile he ended up going through his phone contacts. He got to my dad’s number and decided to call it. Just on a whim. He probably wanted to hear his voice just like I did a few days previously. His daughter went to the garage to find him and said, ‘Guess who mom is massaging?! Sarah Bruska!’ What a bizarre chain of events! And this all happened at the same time, about 1:30 in the afternoon.

I think my dad knew we both needed to talk to someone about my dad. And laugh about the stories we had of him. I am grateful for that moment I had.

I don’t think we are meant to live in perfect harmony and peace the rest of our lives. I think we are meant to figure out who we are, what we stand for, and how to enjoy the little things. We will have many hardships in our lives. Past, present, and many in our future. It does not let up in this life. Sounds depressing. But to me, it sounds like an adventure. I am growing and evolving into this person God wants me to be and in this time we live in. We are all here for a purpose, in people’s lives for a reason, whether we understand it or not. Sometimes I have no idea why I have to go through hardships, or why others have to go through troubling times in their lives. I do know that it is apart of life and we have to learn to cope! How do we cope? Lean on others. Find a support system. Enjoy the little things that life does have to offer.

I will never stop fighting for my dad. I will continue to tell his story. He absolutely wouldn’t want others to suffer in silence like he did.



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