A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
A good friend of mine is in a lot of pain at the moment after suffering a similar loss to my own. Thinking about how he must feel right now has made me reflect a lot on the unbelievable pain I was in when we first lost Des.
You would probably expect that experience to make me the ideal person to support anyone who has been bereaved, but I don’t think it works that way – no one and nothing is enough when you’re grieving.
Experience doesn’t give you the right words, either. What use could words even be when the world you once knew has been torn apart? I scrambled around desperately trying to say the ‘right thing’ when I first heard the news, and the clichés I’ve always hated almost starting spilling from my mouth.
I came across a quote from The Fault in Our Stars, which stayed with me, though: ‘Grief does not change you, it reveals you.’
If someone had told me that three years ago (it’ll be the 3rd anniversary of Desreen’s death next week), I would certainly not have thanked them. Back then I could only have interpreted it as someone trying to tell me that I’d spent my whole life hiding a insomniac, alcoholic, anxious, lachrymose, resentful wreck inside.
I understand those words now, though. And I’m writing this, not because I’m trying to suggest that everything will be okay for my friend, but rather to show that there’s hope and decency to be found down the line.
Grief has revealed a person in me that I often feel sad Des wouldn’t necessarily recognise. It’s made me do things that I didn’t know I had in me. But it has also made me depressed and, despite occasionally being more driven than I ever was before grief came along, depression has often made it difficult to muster the energy to do anything. As I look at it today, I think depression and anxiety has stopped me doing the right thing for too long.
Without knowing it my friend has inspired me to take that leap. I’m going to ask for you all for your help with something soon. I’m going to get behind a cause that might just help make a shred of goodness come out of all the pain.
I’m doing it for Des and I’m taking the leap because of my friend. They’re both very much in my thoughts.