I write about death and speak about it far more than I ever imagined I would. And yet, I still consider myself upbeat and positive. I still love nothing more than being sarcastic and a bit daft (ask my kids!). Because while being bereaved has certainly changed my life, it has not changed who I am underneath.
So I do often wonder why I spend so much time in the ‘grief’ space? Why I am choosing to be consciously in it rather than just being taken there when my emotions dictate.
The truth is, I enjoy it. Hearing about other peoples grief validates my own feelings about it. And that is nice. It’s nice to be reminded that people carry their loved ones with them wherever they go. But they do so whilst having fun, going out, moving forward. It is nice to hear people laugh about how absurd grief is. That’s my favourite thing about the Griefcast, it’s ok that the way you grieve is sometimes funny. Because beneath all the pain and heartache there is an absurdity to it sometimes. I have told random cats I love them FFS!
When I left my parents house a few days after my brother had died, after almost cementing myself between them both, I wrote them a short list of instructions. I told them to go out into the garden, to look at the sky, to breathe, to take a shower, to feel, to hold each other’s hands and finally I told them to move forward. Not leap, not run, not even walk. But just move. I wanted them so desperately to find a way to keep on living even if they felt their entire world had collapsed.
And I know (because now I am expert on grief, right?) that, that is something that is so hard to do. Moving forward should never be confused with moving on but still, we find it hard to allow ourselves to because in some way we fear they will know. And if they know, then maybe they’ll think we’ve forgotten and that doesn’t bear thinking about.
So for me, I spend time in my grief space. I focus on helping people understand addiction (because Danny isn’t around to) and I balance my yin and yang by spending plenty of my time laughing and joking and moving forward. My kids need me to do it, my husband does but I do too. I didn’t die. I owe it to myself, and to them, to keep on living.
And if moving forward for me is making time to be in my grief, then so be it. I’ll stay a while longer.