A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
I’ve been gradually falling into a low mood for several weeks. The word depressed in its clinical sense is wrong, because I am not ill. But in its way of describing a lowered state it perfectly articulates how I’ve been slowly sliding into a sunken place.
My disposition is taking the pleasure out of almost everything. I’m indifferent to things that used to entertain me. My taste buds don’t really distinguish fine food from fast. Exercise neither aches nor rewards. I don’t care if it’s rain or shine. I’m not sleeping but I’m not especially tired. I want to arrange to see friends but I’m irritated when my phone rings. I can barely be bothered to write.
But I have two things that are keeping me focused. One, naturally, is my son. His well-being and ability to draw enjoyment from life means everything to me. He breaks my sadness and puts a smile back ony face.
The other is my unbroken determination to explain how grief can feel. To try to make others understand. To try to help those who already do understand feel like they are not alone.
If I stopped when I fell to my lowest point I wouldn’t be doing the process justice. I’d be rose-tinting something that is often so very grey.
A few days ago I read a comment on Facebook about a TV appearance I made in January. The chap behind the comment saw me on BBC Breakfast and said, ” Strikes me, if you keep dwelling on something, you will never get over it.”
Perhaps he wasn’t aware that my wife had only died two months before the interview. Perhaps he’s been lucky enough to never have to experience the pain of grief. Perhaps he doesn’t understand that grief is a lifetime’s journey, not something that just goes away or that can be placed neatly in a drawer.
His comment didn’t make me cross, though. Instead it fuelled my fire.
It made me want to continue to explain how, when you have been bereaved, you can’t just ‘pull yourself together’.
It made me think that perhaps we should pull ourselves together collectively to try to better understand the complexity of grief.
Perhaps then the bereaved might stand a better chance of being pulled back together with themselves one day.