From the moment I was handed your death certificate, I have had to reluctantly crawl and claw my way back to what non spouse bereaved members of society would call 'normal' whilst crippled by nerves and anxiety, my physical and mental health continually hanging by a thread during a drunken haze of euphoric reflection.
Tell them that at thirty-one years old I was the happiest man alive when I married the love of my life. Tell them that I was utterly bereft when I lost her at thirty-three. Tell them I've thirty-five now and depressed. Tell them that I put a good face on but that the truth is that things haven't really got much easier. Tell them from me how hard it is to be a bereaved single parent.
Grief is entirely individual, and the grieving person has to respond to their grief in a way that is relevant to them. How they respond may change over time. The difficulty with the platitudes detailed above is that they infer a judgement about how the person is grieving, the time they are taking over their grief, or how they are feeling.
When you lose someone, you often find yourself in a cliché firing line as, 'It was their time to go', 'Time is a healer' and 'Everything will be okay' are shot at you. Of course, people are trying to help as best they can (which is appreciated immensely), but it is so difficult to digest anything positive when things are painfully raw and you are suffocating in grief.
Keeping the many facets of our lives going is a great and progressively more common achievement that we have little choice but to challenge ourselves with. However, if you are not paying attention to the areas of your life that matter the most then in the end the success is found to be hollow because we dropped the ball that matters the most...
Generally speaking, Western culture shuns, fears and hides from death whenever possible. It is shrouded in mystery, and in fact, in secrecy to some extent. We don't like to discuss it at all, but when we must, we use euphemisms for it. We shield our children from it, we don't let them attend funerals...
Today's post follows an interesting interview I had on the radio. The interviewer, through no fault of his own, clearly had no understanding of baby loss. He sadly resorted to many clichéd lines, which are regularly handed out to those who are unfortunate enough to know first-hand the sad reality of losing a much wanted child.