I am writing this in advance of Friday 6th January which marks one year since Luke left this plane and went zipping off hopefully into a lighter, faster, happier sense of space. As comforting as I need that to sound I’ve had many reasons to believe that it is so and some mixed signals to hint at otherwise. Unfortunately when it comes to my own personal grief I am still well under, well covered and bricked up to even “go there”. I can’t compartmentalize my grief like I do when I read intuitively for other people. To keep it “outta the way” means for me, right now, a tight lid on it.
I am on the internet searching for wildfire roses I can get locally to lay a floral tribute. A memorial is not going to cause any safety hazards in my chosen location but I sense that they are not entirely welcome there either. Well, neither was suicide I guess so screw the establishment. I’ve heard of stubborn widows before now so maybe I am turning into one of those? We can do without any dramas. Drama free for a year! This is the relief part.
I realise that there is this vast eternal tumbleweed over the idea of suicide and that it is not a subject people want to sit around discussing much or even acknowledge – it creates its own paradoxical solitude as a concept. I felt similar before. A boyfriend had died of natural causes, a family friend completed suicide using the same method. But I had never thought of coming to grips with the idea before I looked his corpse in the face. I still talk out loud to him and there are times of the year – especially this season – where he seems to be sitting on the edge of a chair watching me, quite invisible. His ashes are still there waiting. Perhaps 2017 will be the year to scatter them, it does feel closer.
The last TV show we watched together was the special episode of Sherlock that aired on New Years Day 2016 and I was touched to see Watson’s primal scream on air over the dead Mary this year. The very first time you know you are really broken is when you hear yourself making that sound, (despite natural childbirth ladies). But I never made it on hearing the news of his death. I made it in April 2014 on a bathroom floor as I was getting our son out of the tub and confronted my husband over the accusation of adultery to which I received eventually a reply I did not want to hear. The sound came out. The magic was broken. Sure the feelings were still there and the power was still between us but the magic – the magic was gone and the scream came out. If you are reading this and you are not widowed and still have your partner – as long as they are the right partner for you now – keep a hold of them. Love them – and let them know. It really is too short a time to spend with the right person and also too long a time spend with the wrong one.
As far as crying goes I still do it but maybe once a month – on a full moon – or blasted supermoons. But I still do it I just don’t very often now. But I still do think of him and miss him every single day. I do not expect that to change either I expect life to kind of steer me around it and my other thoughts to pull me in more pleasant directions. I joined Guardian Soulmates for example but don’t feel the impetus to check it or even pay for a subscription. Dating is not really my bag I prefer to make friends – I guess I feel the need to exist.
I do have recurring “what is the point of anything?” anger. It comes out like a toddler tantrum, (god forbid when my toddler’s tantrums coincide). My friends have been great and my family too but this is not like anything you can really share unless you have actually lived it. I look back to well-meaning folk who sent messages to ask if I was okay after a month of grieving and if things were returning to normal and I sort of puke. And laugh! I don’t blame them but how ridiculous a notion it feels. Mind you people dear to me have lost people close to them also during this and I do cringe at every word I am offering to them. I want to extend my love and thoughts more eloquently or with more empathy. Grief sucks but silence finishes mourners off. In fact the worst thing you can do in the aftermath of death is stay silent for whatever reason at all. Staying silent robs whoever has lost. Don’t try to over reach but do try to light a beacon – mourners will flock to a beacon lit unconditionally.
This was a longer post than intended I have not got any great nuggets of advice for making it through your first grief year but I do try to follow these ideas…
- Cry when you have to. Let the anger out when you have to. You have to be strong and maybe you have to look after kids or older people so you can’t buckle. You cannot outrun anger or grief both are faster, stronger and uglier than you and at the top of their game.
- Step away from anyone who has not approached you with any kind of opening line within the first three months. There are many reasons why people do not speak up but death is the biggest and final parting shot we take – making the aftermath also the biggest living hell we can experience. Anyone who has not extended some kind of listening ear or condolences can not use “not knowing what to say” as an excuse nor any other feud or principle or morals! Death is death. A transition that requires more respect.
- Every day you can choose to be new cells. New experience, new outlook. I manage this about 5 days for every 7. It is not easy to do in these times but it is very rewarding. The rest of the time I can be quite a grumpy sausage. Focus on absolutely anything that you love. My favourites are playing electric guitar, songwriting, listening to vinyl, walking and travel. Meditation helps but only if done regularly. Find the enjoyment factors.
- Embrace lonely but only when it is doing you good. Retreat is usually great for people but total isolation in your own wilderness for too long messes with your brain.
- Meet all of your needs. Social, physical, emotional, spiritual – none can exist without the others.
- Punch anyone who tells you to smile.
- Joking on the last one – imagine punching them by all means but spare some compassion for the tactless.
Now I am alone in the house and my kid’s toys have started to play away by themselves upstairs so I better leave it here and investigate. A very happy new year to all – whatever your circumstances X