ERYCE'S STORY:

Grief & Resentment

My name is Eryce and my first real encounter with intense grief happened almost four years ago on July 13th, 2014. I was going into my senior year of nursing school, a feat that took me nearly 10 years to complete. An "Ah-HA!" moment I could rub in Chuck's face for all the times he told me I would never amount to anything or that I was always going to just be average. My father (Yes I called him Chuck) and I never had that warm loving relationship that you see on TV. We always butted heads and now that he is gone I realize it was because I was so much like him, something I would never have admitted to when he was alive. As harsh as his words were to me, and regardless of how much they hurt me to the core...I feel in a way he said these things to me because he wanted me to be better than him. And I know this from talking to family members who have told me how proud of me he was and how he always bragged about my academic achievements. He never spoke these words to me and I resented him for that and I still hold on to these feelings of resentment even now that he is gone. But that belief that I wasn't good enough drove me to prove him wrong. 

On July 13th, I came home in the morning like any other day to get ready to go to the beach. It was a gorgeous summer day. My mom was angry because Chuck had gone to his sister's house in Rye for a party the night before and hadn't come home to go to work. I kind of just rolled my eyes because this was something that Chuck did. He was a drinker and loved to have a good time with his family. My mom received a call shortly after and her face went white. She looked at me panic stricken and said, "Hes gone. Chuck is dead." A wave of intense nausea rushed over me. I thought this has to be a joke. What the fuck are you talking about? I did what I do in most uncomfortable situations I don't want to deal with, I don't deal with them. I ran to my room shoved my face in a pillow and screamed at the top of my lungs. The following week was a blur. You go through so many emotions when you lose a parent. I cried, laughed, got angry, hated people who still had a living father, hated anyone who had a good relationship with their father. I drank heavily. Ironic since one of the causes of my father's death was believed to be alcoholism. You find yourself wanting to bring him up in every conversation so nobody forgets that he existed. My last conversation with my dad was us arguing while he was drunk and I was mean to him. This is something I still carry with me. I was also furious that he never got to see me graduate college, get married, have children. How dare he die when I was just about to prove myself to him. Four years later I am still battling with anger, resentment and unfinished business with my dad. At his funeral, hundreds of people showed up to pay their respects and talk about how Chuck was always the life of the party and the nicest person to be around. I thought to myself, Chuck? Are these people insane? The Chuck I knew was an angry/mean drunk who would say the meanest things he could think of and then apologize the next day saying he was "drunk". And then I realized that there were only a handful of people that knew the real man. I was honored that I was in this small group of people who really knew him through and through. He only presented his full self to the people he was closest to. So here we are four years later and I still struggle with how things ended so abruptly for me and my father. There are a lot of conversations I wish I had had with him. Looking back I wish I didn't hold so many grudges and just accepted him for who he was. I want people to know that grief can be a lifelong struggle and feelings of resentment can linger for years after someone has passed. I find comfort in knowing that I share a lot of the same qualities of my Dad because in a way he lives on through me. And I love that so many people loved him and saw him as the life of the party, I am grateful that he brought so much joy to so many people. Bottom line is everyone deals with grief in their own way. Some choose to deal with it full on and others like myself like to put it to the back of their mind and not think about it because it is too painful. I still cry when I think about him and am reminded of him every day. And even now four years later I still feel like I am not fully ready to accept and deal with the fact that he is gone. So I hope this insight into my experience with grief can help others who also struggle with feelings of resentment and unfinished business even years after someone has passed. You are not alone.

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