Its funny that I am writing this today, as compared to a lot of days, today hasn’t been so bad. I’ve only cried 2 or 3 times, I’ve only eaten one donut and half a bar of Dairy Milk (I totally admit to being a comfort eater – I generally feel that most of lifes problems can be solved with the right amount of chocolate)
But, despite me trying to find some positives, there is nothing good about grief. I am finding grief to be the worst emotion I have ever experienced. It is dark, it knows no depths, it is all consuming, it is totally selfish. It is not limited to emotional pain, but physical pain too. There seems to be no end. Just when you have a day when you think its easing, the following day you are back where you were, in total despair with the inability to have any clarity of thought, functioning on any level feels like wading through treacle. Your greatest wish is to pull the duvet over your head and never venture out.
Sadly, that is not an option, children have to be cared for, shopping has to be done, house has to be cleaned, washing does not do itself.
And then there is work. I have a great job, one that in the main I love and wouldn’t change. But its a job where you don’t have an option of not going, you can’t ring in sick, and when you are there, you have to smile, be totally upbeat – I call it my Disney face. Behind the Disney face you are crumbling, fighting to keep the smile fixed.
I am fed up of grieving,
I am fed up of crying, uncontrollably crying at any given moment.. whether that has been stood by the bitter lemon in the supermarket, queuing at the traffic lights, ordering a hot chocolate at Costa (I am sure that people think I am going mad, I have had some very strange looks – funny though, no-one has ever asked if I am ok?? usually just give me a wide berth)
I am fed up of having a nose full of snot.
I’m fed up of pretending that I am ok
I’m fed up of being so sad, so deeply deeply sad that I feel like I am suffocating, that the very life is being pressed out of my chest.
Sad.. that word.. its the only word I can use that expresses how I feel, but it seems so inadequate. It doesn’t seem powerful, enough. People can be sad for lots of reasons, but this sadness is different. I keep looking for the joy, somewhere, the places I usually find it – in my children, in my home, with my friends .. its just not there, not for me, not at the moment. The thing is, I’m not sad for my mum, thanks to my faith, I know she will be happy as larry where she is, I’m ok with that. I’m sad for me, thats what I mean by grief being selfish. Its all about me, about how I feel, about how I can’t cope, how I don’t know how I’m going to cope going forward. I’m sad that my life has changed for ever and I didn’t want it to.
I asked someone after the funeral, what happens now, what am I supposed to do and feel now. Are things just to return to normal, life continue as though nothing has happened. Am I meant to smile and laugh. His response… “well yes.. the worst is over”.. he couldn’t have been more wrong. The worst for me feels like it is just beginning. The first few weeks after mums death are a fog. I was literally incapable of keeping a thought in my head, of organising any sort of coherant conversation, activity… anything really. I know now that was my body and minds way of coping. To just shut down, as I was not physically or emotionally able to process or deal with what had happened.
One of the worst things I am experiencing though is fear. Fear of lots of things. I can’t imagine how I am going to make it through life without the person that gave me safety. I simply don’t know how I am going to make it. It seems ridiculous to feel like this, afterall, I am 44, married, with children, with my own business, but I am scared that I can’t do this whole grown up thing on my own. My mum, regardless of anything going on between us was always there, would always be there, would rescue me, would pick up the pieces, would make up where I fell short. What happens now? I feel so exposed, so inadequate and isolated.
I have developed an intense fear of losing someone else, mainly my dad.. the only other person in my life that has always made me feel safe. Rationally I know that parents aren’t going to live forever, but honestly I don’t think I could do or go through this again. I am scared that I don’t speak to him enough, that I don’t see him enough, that he doesn’t know how important and essential in my life he is and that under no circumstances is he to die .. EVER!
I fear of something happening to me, I couldn’t bear for my children to have to deal and cope with these feelings of grief, loss and pain. Of them feeling the fear, abandonment, loneliness and despair.
Grief – Sadness and Fear, the most destructive of emotions on every level
I know this is a process, I know there are various stages that you go through – I’ll be honest, I’d be quite happy to go right back to the denial stage, I was comfortable there, I had no idea what was going on, I couldn’t think straight.. well actually, I couldn’t think at all! This current stage (which I’m not really sure what you would call) totally sucks.
I know that everyone’s experience of grief is unique to them, that it takes time, that over that time you get used to a new kind of normal. I’ve been told this by many now, and I accept it, but its so hard to envisage a point that I will be ok, at the moment, it means nothing, it is of no comfort.
You know, my biggest comfort has been Jessica. She is 11, she is amazing. She has seen me at my most upset. She asks no questions. She doesn’t ask whats wrong, she doesn’t try to offer words of comfort, she just hugs me, she holds my hand, she just says its ok to be sad mum, sit with me and we’ll be sad together. And she stays with me till the latest wave passes, no matter how long that takes. Then she makes a joke about my red nose, passes me another packet of tissues and we carry on with life.
And I suppose, thats the point at the moment, to just carry on with life, to just keep going.