When grief visits

We have been up to a lot of things in the weeks since Tam was discharged from hospital. Some of them I might talk about here, but some will have to wait.

Anyway, I want to say a few things about grief. Once you have lost someone close to you then grief will be ever present. There is nothing you can do about it, it will be hanging around waiting for an unexpected moment to grab you and drag you down to the ground in an emotional mess.

In the early days of losing someone grief is part of the process. It is impossible to get away from and is written on your face, it affects the way you walk. Your body will complain all of the time while you are in those early days. It is pain in both a physical and emotional sense. A pain that will tear your soul apart.

Over time this pain will relent a little at a time. Then you will start to feel more normal, but it will be a new way of feeling. You will miss your lost one with an ache that is now a part of you. You will enter a new way of living with a hole in your life that they have given you by no longer being there to talk to and laugh with.

Then you will enter into a period of your life where the pain of grief will come visiting at the most crazy and inopportune of times. This change can be frustrating, embarrassing and debilitating. However, it can also be the most healing. I use a few little things to make these times less painful.

  1. Accept grief when it comes visiting. Think of grief more as a reminder of what you have lost and think of the person that you have lost. Look at the situation you are currently in, how would they have been in the moment that grief came knocking. Would they have been laughing with you? Would they have been warning you about your stupidity? Just imagine them with you at that moment and buy them and the grief you feel a cup of coffee (not actually, just imagine handing grief and your lost one a coffee). Have a chat with them (out loud if no one is around) about what is going on at the moment. I promise you other than feeling a little daft the first few times you do it, you will feel better.

  2. Don’t believe the stages of grief. They are not linear, you do not go from one stage of grief to another. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance can happen at anytime and in any order. If anything see them as a random circle of feelings you are going to go through and add to it guilt. You will feel guilt about living your life, having fun, or simply laughing. Guilt is a part of grief, make no mistake on that one. All you can do with that feeling of guilt is swallow it whole. See it for what it is, you are living your life and the one you are grieving for would want that. So laugh louder, have decadent fun and allow your guilt, and grief to come along for the ride.

  3. Every now and again do something that you would have done with the person you lost. Imagine them with you. It does not matter what it is, shopping, having a coffee, or just sitting in the park. Go do it the same way that you would have done it with them and take them along on the journey. It is another one of the things what might make you uncomfortable but just try it. It might just cleanse a little of the grief and give you some good memories back.

Grief does not leave you. It is a hole inside you that at first seems massive and unfillable. Well it is unfillable. The person you have lost cannot be replaced. What happens is that you will wrap a new, different life around it. It will still be there. It will still grip you when you least expect it. You will want to fight the feelings and be angry about it. Don’t. Accept it, invite it to sit down and take a load off. Buy it a coffee or a beer and let it sit with you. Be still with it and let it wash over you. Eventually grief will be kinder to you and you with it. Grief is not your enemy, it is there to help.