So I am 4 months on a journey that is known as grief and well, I still have no idea what I am talking about.
Before you start the ‘journey’ you assume grief follows a pattern. You assume there will be stages that you go through and everyone will go through them with you at the same rate and pace and in some way that will help you all get to where you need to be. I can imagine those of you reading who have suffered from grief will be thinking ‘pah’ and now I know. Grief isn’t a journey because on most journeys you have some sense of where you’re going (unless you are my dad and a 1500 mile trip off is all in a weekends work but I digress!) Grief takes you off roads, it takes you down dark tracks that you would never want to go on again. It takes you to places in your own mind or even familiar settings that don’t feel right or familiar in the slightest to the point where you could happily just run away to find something right again. As sad as it sounds, one thing you learn from grief is that it is permanent because death is permanent, your life has changed and there’s no getting away from it. As days go by some light starts to creep back in, slowly at first because you have to let it in and opening the door to something positive again can almost feel like you are being disrespectful to the loss or you worry that if you aren’t just sad then you didn’t care enough and what will people think?
As the light creeps back in though it reminds you that there are others around you living, others around you that need you and if you can cling on to that then it gives you a reason to brave a smile and that leads to getting out and that leads to being able to walk down the street or stand in the school playground without thinking everyone is staring at the poor grief stricken woman who can’t even remember to buy milk….milk is my analogy for diesel by the way! I’ve lost count of how many times I had to pray that 0 miles on the screen actually means 10 and I wouldn’t run out!
Don’t get me wrong though, I am far from “better”. Grief can still smack me in the face for hours or even days on end and the tears roll uncontrollably (poor Amy has endured this and luckily she knows the best medicine in Britain is actually TEA) You think you are getting further up the “road/ladder” then you fall back down a bit but the difference is now I know I can get back up again and spend a bit longer at the top or at least half way up. Hearing the word cancer doesn’t make me want to vom anymore and I feel like I am actually learning through the process. I am learning that grief is subjective and it doesn't matter how many times you tell yourself that others have been through worse, it just f**cking hurts and that's ok. I am learning about what is important in life and how I want to spend my time and who I want to spend my time with and when you have always been a people pleaser this is quite refreshing. When you have lost ones of the loves of your life you know that saying no from time to time isn't going to kill anyone. I’ve learnt that you don’t follow the same path as someone else who is grieving and that’s ok because it means you can actually be there for each other as one of you may be stronger that day. I’ve learnt that my close knit family and close circle of friends are my everything and even these words can’t thank them enough.
Most importantly I’ve cemented the most important fact in my own mind and that was my Mam was the strongest human I will ever have the pleasure of loving because she imparted the best advice to us before she died…”NO MOPING, YOU’VE GOT TO GET ON” So anyone else who is suffering, when you are ready -take those words and repeat them whenever you need to get out of bed or off the sofa. You’ve got to live, even if we don’t - we can’t bring them back. Take them with you in your heart and the “journey” will feel a little less lonely. And on a bad day, grab the tissues/chocolate or wine and ride it out. It will get better when you are ready x
PS these ramblings may never see the naked eye of another human being but the process of writing them is more cathartic than writing a diary as an angsty teenager and I have hundreds of those!