Saturday, 26 November 2016

Loss and grief (Journaling grief 1)

It is almost two months now since my husband died. I won’t go into the details of his death other than to say that it was sudden and completely unexpected; I said goodbye to him one morning when I set off for work and never spoke to him or saw him alive again.
 I suppose to say that the last eight weeks have been consumed by grief is obvious. The loss of a spouse is a huge blow because it is such a close relationship, you shared your life with that person and they knew you better than anyone ever did. Their loss brings a pain that is sometimes so excruciating that you feel it is unbearable; at other times it is less intense but still a huge blanketing sadness that sucks all the joy out of living. I don’t have a very clear memory now of the first few weeks but it gets worse, if that is possible, after the funeral has finished and ordinary life resumes, simply because it is not ordinary life anymore. Being bereaved is in emotional terms the equivalent of having limbs amputated, you may be the same person but you are also completely different, you can’t get on like you did before, you don’t feel whole and you can’t imagine that life will ever again be “normal.”

Grief is also terribly isolating; despite all the sympathy cards in which people say they will do anything and will always be there for you, most will not keep in touch because they do not know what to say or do and some will actively avoid you- possibly for the same reasons. There may be an expectation after a few weeks that you should be “getting over it” when in fact you are still processing the enormity of the gulf that has opened in your life. There are days when you feel not just that nobody understands but that nobody particularly cares. In this bleakness, the support of family is a real positive and an absolute life saver, and friends who regularly keep in touch after the sympathy cards have stopped arriving are to be cherished. Another source of help has been the memory of Kev: his love and acceptance of me which freed me to love and accept myself, his concern for others and their well being above his own, his lovely, crazy sense of humour, his zest for life and his love and pride in our sons. These are the things I try to hold onto during the very many days when I think I just can’t and don’t want to go on.