Hello Wolfsbane. I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with the loss of your Dad.
I am very glad to hear that you are going to see a therapist. Even though it may appear that they are not dealing with the issue of your loss, the fact that you are going is a real point of strength, and will support you on your journey through this period and process.
Coping with the loss of a dear one is necessarily very hard, in a strange way, if you did not grieve one would perhaps question if one had loved. Also, no one can tell you how long it will take. The process of grief is individual and profound for all of us. It is also a necessary part of our emotional and spiritual development. Many times people will try to suggest you 'get on with life' or 'you should be feeling better by now' with out realising that in facing the grief and our own mortality we look at the shadow side of life, and become more able, eventually, to celebrate living.
I lost my Ma in 2007 and I still miss her profoundly. There will always be times when you do something or something happens and you naturally think, "Dad, would like that." or "I'll tell Dad about that" and once again you are brought up short against your loss.
This is natural and normal, and instead of trying to ignore it, accept it, welcome the feeling as a friend, and then walk with it.
The way I handle these feelings may not be a way that you find helpful but I will describe them any way as they may perhaps help others.
It does help me to have a belief in after life and in reincarnation. As did my Ma. So, when I get the feelings of loss, or wanting to say something to her, I do so. Sometimes I just stop and say "MA, I would phone you right now, but your just going to have to tune in." It may sound barmey to others, but it is helpful to me. Sometimes I get a sense of her, perhaps a scent, or some other sensory stimuli which makes me recall her, so I accept that there is a possibility she may actually be near, and I tell her I love her, and that I miss her and if she wants she can still help me or influence me in aspects of my life. My children have found this comforting in the past, and they have taken this approach and found that they feel connected to her. True, we can no longer get the hugs, the kisses, the taps on the head or tuts when we frustrate her, but we do have a sense of her as still part of our lives.
In the ancient times, to keep that sense of connection the families would have their close ones buried nearby, sometimes even on their threshold or in their homes, by the hearth. Nowadays that may raise a few eyebrows, but we can still keep something close by. I have Ma's hat on the wall above my picture of my graduation where I can see it from my chair. She never went out without that hat and it was sooooo her.
At Samhain, when we open the gateway in our grove, we will welcome her back and talk to her, we will tell stories of our loved ones and friends who have died and we will keep them alive in our lives by talking about them. in fact, we are as a grove constructing our own book of memories (we may not call it that in the end) where we will collect anecdotes, poems or some form of recognition of those we love who have died. We will keep putting things in throughout the year and encourage others to do the same, grove members or not, and at Samhain we will have it there for all to look through and laugh and cry in equal measure.
This idea was given to me by Kris as we had a most inspiring talk at the Mercian gathering. I came straight home and told the grove about it and they acted on it immediately. They felt it was a healthy and honest way in acknowledging and retaining the sense of connection with our lovely ones. Of course everytime we call the quarters and create a circle we call in peace to the ancient ones, to our tribe, to those we love who have gone before us. They are part of us and it is only our concept of time which separates us.
It is my truly held belief that the spirit of a person is eternal, that time as we perceive it as we live it is not actually linear but entangled and therefore it is possible for connection at any time in any place. For family, friends and myself that is a great comfort. For those without this belief I can't imagine how they deal with the sense of loss unless perhaps they just continually push it away from them selves. If there is doubt about afterlife, and lets face it we could all be wrong, talk to others, read lots of books... there are plenty out there that are inspiring and supportive.
What ever your personal belief, keep talking about your Dad. He is worth it. You miss him, there are surely things you still wanted to say, or do with him.... acknowledge this and include him in your thought process. Say the things you wanted to say, do the things mindfully that you wanted to do with him. All these things will help, but/and it is still a process and a journey that you are on and one so valuable that it needs to take its own time to complete.
Wolfsbane, I hear you. I hear your loss and will hold you in my 'otherworld arms'. I will light a candle to guide you as you make this journey.
Write about your Dad if you can, or make a tape of all the things that you wanted to say or remember, and play it at Samhain. Love him still, as love is always returned.