A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
Some mornings I wake up and wonder, ‘Should I have a day off from grief today?’. A whole day when I don’t analyse my loss, write about it or read anything about other people’s. In fact, as I sat in my favourite seat on the bus (OCD?) this morning, I thought just that.
I told myself to put on some music and catch up on the news after a whole weekend of blocking out all of the other terrible shit that’s going on out there to spend some extremely special and rewarding time with my son and our friends. But clearly it didn’t last long because here I go again…
But the fact I feel compelled to write this post highlights a point about my experience of grief. There are no days off. There’s no break. Sure, you can divert yourself or physically relocate to an environment that I might once have called ‘a holiday’, but attempting to totally escape it is a bit like going for a swim in the sea and trying to keep your hair completely dry. You get splashed. The current pulls at you even in the shallows and all of a sudden you’re on your arse panicked despite the fact that if you stood up, the water would only be up to your knees. Worst of all, however, is when you’ve built up your strength, you’re adamant that you’ll beat the elements and then a wave crashes into you and leaves you soaking and choking.
I’m really only sharing this thought because it’s the Tuesday after a bank holiday weekend and I’d been planning on writing a piece about what a consistently lovely weekend I’d had since Saturday. I got cocky. To soon was I victorious. I thought I was safe and dry. But then a little emotional tsunami struck.
“I want to go to the sky and see Mummy. I want to kiss Mummy.”
There’s more and there’s more to it too, but for now I’m simply hoping to establish a point about a potential situation that fills me with dread.
‘You need I get over it. You should move on.’
A magical switch that can turn off grief, which perhaps only those who have never experienced it are told about.
The fact is grief is a natural reaction to loss and is a natural process necessary for a person to come to terms with that loss. Perhaps you could imagine it as Mother Nature writing a non-pharmaceutical prescription for your soul. Despite it not being a drug it still behaves like a medicine and if you don’t see out the full course you’re unlikely to get better. And as with any natural remedies that aren’t dished out by doctors, there will always be naysayers and those who think that they know better when in fact they know nothing at all.
Sadly there appear to only be two ways to really understand grief. Listen or learn. In my experience truly learning comes with too high a price. Listening, however, is always free.