Grief and Fibromyalgia

Grief can be so overwhelming that the hardest thing to muster is hope and strength.

I have been trying to write this post for many months now, but have been consumed by grief, a lack of creativity, and no desire to write.

Grief takes on many forms when you have chronic pain or a chronic illness, like fibromyalgia. You might be grieving the person you used to be, the life you used to have, or all of the things you used to be able to do.

Any loss can be profound and all-consuming. Even life-changing.

My Grief

My grief is the more traditional sense. Simply put, I lost my father a few months ago after a lengthy illness. He was my hero, so this has left a big void in my life. (You can read more on that story here.)

My father had been in hospice care for 6 months, so we knew the inevitable was coming. Knowing doesn’t make it any easier.

His last week on earth, I was his advocate when he became too weak and incoherent to take care of himself or tell care workers what he needed. I mustered all the strength I had, put my needs aside, and fought for my father’s right to die with dignity and little or no pain. I held his hand and talked to him, recounting our favorite memories. I told him I loved him. ❤

I was in full-on flare mode, but I was there with him and for him. When he slept, I curled up on the couch in a fetal position in pain and exhaustion, sleeping as best I could. I arranged for overnight care to stay so I could rest.

And when we knew the end was just days or hours away, I made the hardest decision I have ever made. I got on a plane and flew home. I had done my duty and dad was in good hands.

Radical Self-Care

I needed my own bed and pillow. I needed my husband and family to take care of me. I knew my father’s passing would not be the end of my work; it was the beginning of another long road.

Notifications. Arrangements. Eulogy. Paperwork.

What I needed at that moment was self-care. Self-preservation.

Being sad, in pain, and just plain tired takes energy. Sometimes grief is so overwhelming you don’t know if you can get out of bed, or even go on. The hardest thing to muster at that point, is HOPE and STRENGTH. But you must dig deep down and look for something to hold on to, that glimmer of hope and the will to move forward.

This too shall pass, I tell myself.

How did I cope?

How did I not only survive, but thrive during two weeks of my worst days in pain and grief?

Like you hear as a new mother, when they sleep, you sleep. I curled up on a couch and rested when the apartment was quiet with just me and my father there. I went home and slept for three good nights in my own bed. I made rest a priority as best I could whether I was at home, staying in a hotel, or sleeping on a couch. You cannot drink from an empty cup.

Fuel your body. I kept my nutrition and water intake up with Orgain protein drinks, soup, and nuts when I wasn’t able to leave my dad’s side. And when I could leave, I stuck to healthy food choices. This was not the time to abandon a healthy diet and trigger even more issues!

Daily yoga. NO MATTER WHAT. I got up every morning and got my blood flowing, body moving, and head cleared – if even for just a few minutes. My daily movement helps start my day off right.

Let people help. Don’t try to do it all. When people would ask what they could do, I gave them a task, even if it was minor. But don’t wait for them to ask you. You cannot expect to get through your grief if you’re trying to do everything, and not prioritizing your physical and mental well-being.

And now…

It’s been almost three months since my father passed; I still miss him every day. Much like finding my “new normal” with fibromyalgia, I have had to find my new normal with not having my dad to call for advice, share my good news, or just call to say “hi.” I now often think, “What would Dad do?

It took a good month to feel human after his passing, and recover from that wicked flare. The last few weeks I have even started feeling, dare I say, well. As expected, the loss is still there. I am comforted knowing he’s no longer in pain; I was there for him when he needed me most.

And I know there will be days, like yesterday – it would have been Dad’s 84th birthday – where the waves of grief and sadness will overtake me again. And I will breathe, smile, and quite possibly cry, but I know I am my father’s daughter and I will have the strength to overcome and move forward.

How have/do you cope with loss or grief?



Author: Cynthia, My Inspired Fibro Life

Wife. Mom. Fibrowarrior. Joy seeker. Picture taker. Coffee drinker. Blogging about living with fibromyalgia and finding inspiration in every day life. Welcome to My Inspired Fibro Life.

13 thoughts on “Grief and Fibromyalgia”

  1. Wow… it been three months since your dad passed. He was a great man. I enjoyed reading about all that he was, so much more than a date of passing. The firsts are hard, first birthday since, first Christmas, since… etc. the second year, maybe better? I too, slept when he slept (my brother who passed at age 37 from cancer, I was his medical power of attorney). Those last few days are hard, I’m glad you got on that plane because yes, then the work begins. I don’t know how to deal with the grief. What I do know is that the steps for grieving that everyone knows is FOR the dying. Those of us left on this earth do not have clearly defined stages of grief. We will revisit the five stages many different times and in no particular order… time, time will help. You will get through your father’s death but you will not get over it and that’s OK. At least I think it’s ok. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I probably experienced those “five steps” more during his hospice care than since his passing. My dad used to say, “It is what it is.” Not quite accepting things, but nothing knowing the course wouldn’t change. It has gotten a bit easier these last few weeks since being back from visiting my mom. And I know it will get a little easier every day, but I agree. We don’t get over it and do continue to miss our loved ones when they are gone. Thanks,
      Kim. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Cynthia, I’m so sorry. I know your dad passed a few months ago and I can only imagine how hard it is to deal with that grief, and to still look after yourself. Absolutely heartbreaking, and I honestly don’t know how I’d cope with the loss of either of my parents, it’s not something I can bring myself to think about. Your post will help others who have also suffered such loss, so be proud that you’re using your experience to comfort others, too. I wish I could do more to help. Please know we’re thinking of you. Sending lots of hugs and love your way  ♥
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry for your loss. I know I am months late but just discovered your site.
    It is hard when you have to bear the loss of your father and live with fibromyalgia at the same time.
    Two yrs this coming Tuesday (10/8) I lost my father. He had had a heart attack and also a yr or so later had a stroke. They might have caused him to be a bit slower but he was always ready to go and enjoy life with his family and friends. It was skin cancer that he had fought for almost 35 yrs that caused his passing. It was noticed at the end of August and then about 5 short weeks later he passed. It was hard as I have six siblings and we all have strong personalities. My mother does as well. It was in the few yrs prior that the fibromyalgia that I had had since 1991 decided to really come out in full force. It has been a roller coaster ever since. Tending to a loved one while trying to get thru the pain of fibromyalgia is not easy.
    I so hope that the pain is less.
    Know your father helped make you the person you are– I do and it gives me strength.
    It also helps in thinking that my father is now with other loved ones who have gone on prior and since and they are all whole and not in pain.


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