A story of grief by a man and a boy

shaded eyes

Imagine for a moment you’ve been told that when you feel down, walking, let’s say, could take all your troubles away.

One day you find yourself sitting fairly comfortably in a chair when, all of a sudden, a shadow creeps over you.

It’s unfamiliar and disturbing.

You were concentrating on something else entirely until it came along, but now you can only focus on it.

‘It’ feels like nothing, though.

You’ve gone from focusing on something, to being absorbed in nothing.

That nothing is something, though – it’s just that that something is nothing.

The paradoxical thoughts hurt your head, so you try to shake them off.

The overwhelming nothingness has taken away most of the somethings, but there’s a crack in the nothingness letting in a little light.

This faint glow facilitates a moment’s clarity of thinking.

You remember that, for you, walking makes everything better.

You must get out the house right away.

You can’t, though.

You can’t move.

You tell yourself that really you can and then you beat yourself up that it’s more likely that you just can’t be bothered.

But, either way, you can’t.

You just can’t move.

You’ve long understood that shade diminishes light and decreases temperature, but never before have you known it to increase your body weight.

You’ve always recognised that you feel better when the sun shines brightly than when grey clouds fill the sky, but the contrast has never really stopped you from getting on with your day.

Before now.

Now this darkness incapacitates you.

The shade has acquired a new force that pushes you into the chair that once felt comfortable, but that now feels like nothing.

The darkness keeps you indoors even though, outside, the sky is the most perfect celestial gift of enduring blue.

It must look so beautiful through unshaded eyes.

15 comments on “shaded eyes

  1. sharrongordon
    October 13, 2015

    I was trying to describe to someone moments of yesterday .I found it such a difficult thing to do eventually putting it down to beating myself .
    Where on earth do you find those words Ben that just clarify how the loss of a loved one makes you feel. I find it so hard to speak, but with shaded eyes I am at this present time literally pushing back this lump in my throat and holding back the tears, its not just me. Thank you. loads of love and hugs to you and Jackson

    • Life as a Widower
      October 13, 2015

      You know what? It took me a long time to get that down and it’s one of the shortest posts I’ve ever written. I was just trying to capture what a lot of people I know seem to be going through at the moment. Loads of love back to you, too.

  2. sharrongordon
    October 13, 2015

    Yesterday I tried to explain to someone how trying to be strong and carry on after a death feels. I couldnt describe nothing .

    WOW…. you just did Ben x

  3. sharrongordon
    October 13, 2015

    Thank you
    This post will be printed immediatly I NEED these words with me at all times at the moment., ah Thank you so much x

  4. MACA
    October 13, 2015

    Dear Ben, I’ve shared your post with a Dutch Facebook group for widows (I live in the Netherlands). Your words really struck a chord. So recognisable, as I am sure it will be for many of them. People often say ‘why don’t you go out and try to enjoy yourself at least’. Well, this is why not…!
    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us

    • Ingrid Brawn
      October 14, 2015

      “Exactly the way it feels and often physically is, Ben! Lots of love anf hugs to you!!” xx

  5. heideelicious
    October 13, 2015

    Yep. This is perfectly described. Thank you so very much. x

  6. Ramblings of grief
    October 13, 2015

    Oh bloody hell Ben! This is my day right now. The sun is shining and I’m sat here telling myself I must go for a walk to feel better. Still sat here though.

  7. Ame
    October 13, 2015

    My heart goes out to you. Grief is such a painful experience, but for some people like yourself, if the circumstances of the loss are traumatic, there is so much more to have to deal with on top – Jennie from speaks about her grief and that she has been diagnosed with PTSD on top, I think she would related to your post today. That fact you are reaching out to encourage others through your blog is amazing

  8. Carol Barber
    October 13, 2015

    Ben, I’m lost for words, but your words just blow me away! Loads of love x

  9. Nicki Walker
    October 13, 2015

    Perfectly put, and makes me feel better that the apathy I sometimes feel is not just mine, but a shared consequence of such huge loss. Than you Ben x

  10. victoriawhyte
    October 14, 2015

    Powerful words – sending hugs 💚

  11. polianthus
    October 17, 2015

    I am sorry you have to feel like this too. Your words resonate, crystal clearly…

  12. bruce
    November 22, 2015

    I read your words, I understand as I am experiencing the same emotions,but every time they return they are stronger and the thoughts they bring frighten me,even though I have two wonderful sons three lovely grandchildren and two attentive and concerned brothers,in the end I miss my wife endlessly.

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