Rants & Raves: Dealing with Grief as a Creativepreneur

dealing with grief as a creativepreneur

Death takes a toll on you in ways you just don’t even realize.  These past months have been draining, physically, mentally, emotionally, in every possible way.

On April 11th, I lost my father.  He passed away peacefully in his sleep.  If any of my daddy’s girls are reading this, then you know the hurt and pain I went through and am still dealing with.  I never imagined my father passing as young as he did.  He was only 54, that’s young in my book.  As a child, you always imagine your parents living forever, it’s naive I know, but that’s what we think, so when it came his time to go, my world was shattered.  My dad was the best dad ever, hands down.  It might sound cliché, but throughout all of his own personal trials and tribulations he was going through, he was still able to be a father to me.  He made me feel loved, he made it known that I was beautiful, he taught me how not to take shit from anyone, and most importantly, I couldn’t do anything wrong in my dad’s eyes (and I’ve done some fucked up shit).  Even at 25, I was his little girl, his princess, and the apple of his eyes…and now I don’t have that anymore.

The first two weeks of his passing were a whirlwind.  I cried for 3 days straight until my face was swollen (on top of already being sick with strep throat).  Then once I was over the hump of crying and actually accepting the fact that he was dead, it was the adulting shit I was faced to deal with.  I had to get my extended bereavement approved since we lived in two different states, had to inform family of what was going on, help my stepmom not only with her grief but to plan the funeral, clean my house just in case people stopped by, all shit you just don’t plan on doing, nor feel like doing because well, you just want to curl up in the corner and block the world out.

While dealing with my stepmom's grief, more so delusional shock, I had to also deal with other family issues as well.  My only brother from my father, my big brother, couldn’t even attend his services.  He’s currently in prison.  I could tell in his voice that he was mad at himself.  The fact is once he gets out, my dad won’t be there, and that’s something he has to live with for the rest of his life.  And worst of all, I had to tell my daughter that "Papa" passed away.  How do you explain to a very competent 5 year old about death?  I didn’t tell her for 4 days, and when I did she asked a lot of questions.  How did he die?  When is the funeral?  Is he in heaven?  It's hard...so fucking hard.

Work was the farthest thing from my mind.  I didn’t give a fuck about returning emails, blogging, not a damn thing.  And when I finally got in a place where I thought I could get back into "girl boss mode" I started to feel overwhelmed.  I don’t care what you say, but you have to take care of yourself before you can get back to work, especially during a difficult time like death.  The first part of self-care during death is to acknowledge your feelings, whether that’s crying, screaming, sitting in your room alone cut off from all communication, just do it.  As I said, once I was done crying and accepted the fact of what the reality was, I felt OK.  You're not going to feel 100% like yourself, and don't expect yourself to be, that's asking too much from yourself.  Once you’re in a place where you can think let alone function as yourself, let people know what has happened so they can give you space.  I emailed and/or texted who I know had contacted me or would be contacting me within the next two weeks regarding blogging or work and told them what it was.  People can’t respect your space if you’re not upfront and honest about what it is that’s going on.  More so, people are more caring than what you give them credit for.  All of the positive and encouraging words is what gave me the energy to actually get back to work.

What I've learned in my journey of dealing with grief is doing whatever you can to relax, de-stress, and to create an environment where you can come back to if and when your grief gets the best of you.  For me, that includes:
-long showers or baths
-blast your favorite music
-find old pics of your loved one and hang them up in a place where you’ll always see them
-soak your feet
-binge on your favorite tv show
-spend time with your favorite people
-play computer games or something with little thought (that was something my dad loved to do)

Once you feel that you’re at that place where you can begin to be productive again, take these steps to make the process easier:

this is crucial.  Take a few days to go over emails, this includes deleting unnecessary and spam emails.  This is going to make your life easier.

-make a to do list and give yourself a few tasks every day.  It's important not to overwhelm yourself  because you won't be able to handle that much.  For each day, mark what is important as priority and make sure you get to those things first.

Whether that's your blog readers, clients, or customers, let them know of the difficult time you are going through.  As I said before, you can't expect people to understand if you don't give them a chance to.

Setting goals for me was a must.  With everything else I had going on in addition to dealing with my dads death, I needed a way to make sure I stayed on track.  I set goals for each month, and still have them in place of what I need/want to get accomplished.  These dates are flexible because again, my grief is still strong and there are days where I cannot function or don't want to be productive, but it's good to have a deadline in the back of your mind.

Even though you feel as if you are ready to get back into the swing of things, there are going to be times in the day that seem the most inconvenient where you just start to cry and you don't feel like being productive.  Recognize that you need breaks and time to relax and that the grieving process does not have a time limit.

I hope none of you have to endure anything like this anytime soon, it sucks, but if you do, I hope these steps make it easier for you to adjust to your new normal as a creativepreneur.

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