The words ring in your ears. Everything around you slows down and blurs. The words feel heavy on your skin as they sink in. You can feel your heart beating fast and loud and your chest begins to hurt. Your eyes swim with tears. You feel a slow numbness creep up your body from your toes, until you can't feel yourself anymore. You're hot and numb.
I don't know why you have been on my mind so much lately, it's twelve and a half years since you died. Perhaps it is watching your small, wobbly granddaughter achieving her small significant steps, and hurting that you never met her or knew of her struggles. Perhaps seeing her adoration of her own doting Daddy.
Today, I think many of us spend much of our time in some form of mild despair; it is a tough world. But social ills can be compounded by the human experience of bereavement and the irony that in a connected world, people have scarcely been more "lonely" as we retreat into our cyber-worlds, advertising our fabulous lives for all to see.
I am practically seconds away from putting up a tree. However it has actually taken a while for me to get back into the idea of Christmas since my father died and I am totally empathetic to anyone that has lost someone and is facing the daunting prospect of a nostalgic Christmas ahead. My dad used to enjoy this season so much that it is literally impossible not to think about and miss him.
When a child enters the Play Therapy room for the first time, they can choose to play with any of the toys: puppets, sand tray, musical instruments, dressing up clothes, paints, crayons, clay. In non-directive play, the therapist respects the child's choice, and plays along with them, to build up rapport, trust, and attachment.
24th September, Mum's 54th birthday (or do you stop counting when someone dies?) passed, just as every other day has. People often say that they hope their loved ones are celebrating wherever they are but I'm not sure I believe in heaven, or an afterlife. I'm not sure I believe that Mum is alive in another world, space or time. I think she's probably just dead. But her spirit and everything she's taught us will live on in us.
I was open minded, but couldn't help but feel that the whole experience would be incredibly awkward. Thankfully, Aly and her co-host, Gina Awad of Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, made it relaxed, friendly and thought-provoking. Here are just a few things I learnt in my two hours discussing all things death, dying and bereavement.
It is clear that mourning and grief are being moved into a digital space. It was happening before developers even realised it; social media became a natural extension of daily life and all its rituals. But what is not clear is if that transition has an impact on the value of those mourning behaviours. Can a virtual candle ever be as meaningful as a real one?
So here we are, hoping for better days, for the grief to ease a little and for the sleepless nights to rush by; but at the same time wanting to press the pause button on my two little miracles. Just stop and live in the moment, breathe in the warm, baby scent of N, and delight in M's transformation into a proud big sister, so independent already but still needing her mummy.