A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
These last few weeks have been pretty busy. Lots of well wishers have warned me not to overstretch myself and friends and family have have shown their concern when they’ve seen my diary looking so full.
But this is one of the strange things about grief. You can’t tell someone how to play theirs out and you can’t be certain if the choices they make now will ultimately be right or wrong. Only time will provide those answers.
So four weeks to the day since I started this blog, have I taken too much on?
The truth is I rarely sit on my arse and do nothing. In my twenties I liked nothing more than to avoid bed at all costs. I’ve spent my entire adult life working hard and keeping busy, so to think that I might change so dramatically in just a matter of weeks is probably quite unlikely. Two hours after my wife was killed I was reciting a to do list to a friend, thus work-shy I am not.
So, whilst not ready to return to my job, I suspected I needed to find something positive to occupy my mind. Running started to fill a void but it didn’t take me long to realise that this hobby was simply busying my other anatomical extreme. And so that’s how this blog came to be. A normally active, stimulated and hectic mind was given extended leave from school but quickly rushed back to ask for extra homework like the classroom geek.
But I’ve done the work at my own pace. I’ve spread the writing out, I’ve spoken to media only on the days that suit me and I’ve put my son first every time. The words pour into me during my broken sleep and out of me before he even wakes up.
I’ve also worked in PR for 13 years, which means two things: 1) that working with media doesn’t present a hugely time-consuming challenge for me and 2) every single working day for over a decade has been busier than any day during the last four weeks.
Over the weeks I’ve felt extremes from anger to euphoria, despair to pride, disbelief to dignity. But I believe the important thing is that I’ve felt more than just loss. I’m self aware enough to understand that taking care of myself means challenging my mind rather than simply sitting round doing nothing at all.
So, if busying myself when I ‘should be getting some rest’ does some good for others then great, I’ll chill out another time.
If I regret what I’m doing right now in the future, then I’ll console myself with the fact that death made me live for the present.
If the rare highs lead to crashing lows, I’ll already know that I was fully expecting them to come my way.
And if I break down on the bus again whilst out running some errands, then at least I can take solace in the fact I can still multitask.