What helps you get through grief? Well, there is no one answer. I’ve had days of feeling a tremendous burden on my heart that my blood feels sluggish and getting out of bed just isn’t an option. Then there’s moments of rage, irritation and anger that you’ve been left behind as your precious loved one has been torn from your hands. Hopelessness and sadness can be dealt with but the emptiness is a tough one to face. There’s a void in your life and having this past year acting as a Carer, there is now unlimited time that stretches out endlessly. The house is silent without the oxygen concentrators humming away and the diary is empty of hospital appointments and last minute trips to the seaside. Life goes on but you feel trapped within that moment staring at an empty room that used to be filled with equipment, medicine and the need for you to be there. It is inevitable therefore that it isn’t purely grief to deal with but a whole psychological change of events to suddenly fathom.
What has helped me through grief? Being quiet, being willing to cry or to be angry, accepting that days merge into weeks and you can’t bounce back as easily as others. Acknowledging this grief will never end and that instead it is far easier to hold it closer, to feel the sheer brunt of it on the days it claws at you as just as easily there are days when you feel an unusual tranquility descend upon you. Music has been a healer particularly London Grammar’s latest record Truth Is A Beautiful Thing and switching on Classic FM when I want those vivid memories of sitting and listening to the gorgeous compositions as I did with Pa. Recently I traveled to Finland for a weekend break with my dear friend and reveled in being in foreign lands but also being able to sit, to pass the time and to not feel tied to anyone or even my own grief. It was the first time in a long time that I felt able to truly laugh and to behave with a lack of maturity that was required of me when facing bravery in a terminal illness.
Twitter has provided me with brilliant and beautiful people who have been sympathetic and supportive. Podcasts including Homo Sapiens, My Dad Wrote A Porno (hilarious!) and The Empire Film Reviews have provided me with moments to fill my mind and distract from the endless whirring of traumatic memories as have books including The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink, Do No Harm by Henry Marsh and The Way We Die Now by Seamus O’Mahony. Some days it is better to procrastinate, to watch the world go by with no shame in wasting time as equally as some days you want to be active, distracted and find an endless list of things you want to fulfill. It is up to the individual as to how they manage and cope with their grief.
What fills me with hope? Facing that I needed help and finding the courage in me to do so. I’ve struggled with mental illness for a long time and now felt like the right time to seek proper help to get me through. It is being patient with yourself, knowing there is no quick fix and I’ve been fortunate to have the right people around me who have equally been as understanding that sometimes a person needs time. Some days will be hard as some days will feel like a breeze, but surely that’s life in a nutshell?
The path of grief and loss is unique to each person as is the path of death to those it falls upon. There is no quick fix, no simple answer or statement that can make the pain go away and the tub of emotions will often spill resulting in god knows what. It is important to learn though, to keep on trying and to keep living, to seek help in those who are willing and to find ways in wanting to wake up in the morning. The memory of your loved one lives on in you so talk about them as if they never left and don’t be afraid to identify them in whatever happens around you. Death is not the end, it only will be if you let it.