coping with grief
I've lost count of the number of times people have told me how strong I am. Considering I rarely set foot in a gym and my body bears the sagging signs of having carried three children, I'd be surprised if they meant physically so. Rather, they're talking about the resilience I've shown since losing my mum to cancer last summer.
Slowly, painfully slowly, the good days were fewer and fewer, and our visits mainly consisted of us trying to make conversation with someone who barely knew we were there. My grandma would dutifully feed him biscuits when we visited. A woman in the corner of the day room, with white hair that stood on end, screamed periodically like a crowing rooster. The nurses seemed kind.
Your beloved cats don't come to you on the bed, so I hear. The one called Little Sock does not part from your mother's side. Perhaps they give you space. Perhaps they have started to let you go. Your mother says she is strong, now, but does not know about after... how she will cope. She will be 80 next month. Her only child is dying.
Cancer grief is the sense of loss and bereavement experienced by those affected by cancer (including family and friends). It can start with the diagnosis and does not need a death to feel earth shatteringly real.
I often feel a connection to people when I find out they have lost a sibling. Its the forgotten thing. We talk about people losing their parents or children, but we don't really discuss what its like to lose a sibling.
"Dad had an accident." At this point, I prayed so hard her next words weren't what I feared they would be. "Dad's died." I screamed, making a noise that had never come out of my body before. David was sitting on the bed. I ran through the balcony doors and told him dad was dead.
We wish we had ticked the other box, the box that stated 'yes' we would have our baby back. However, like many parents, we were given minutes to decide, before I was rushed down to theatre. In those few minutes we sat traumatised. We were in shock...
When we speak of "Heaven" in Christianity, we imagine a place of peace and joy where sadness is banished. In my life I have known tremendous suffering and I now realise that the human condition is one where we must suffer in order to understand.
I am learning fast that dealing with bereavement is very definitely a marathon, not a sprint. With many things in life, I expect to be able to 'carry on regardless' in a week or two. I wasn't naïve enough to put the death of my gorgeous husband in that bracket.
Sam, Thomas and I have just returned from a week's holiday on a farm in Cornwall. It was a big step for all of us. Dunc and I had booked it in January, in a moment of being unusually organised. When he died in April this year, I quickly realised that the holiday was looming.