Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Fifteen years.

Fifteen years ago this very night I went to bed for the very last time as a person with an unbroken heart. 

I didn't know I was born, I tell you. All those years wasted mithering about nonsense, when I should have been fully enjoying not being grief-stricken. 

I would give anything to go back to then. To have my dad back. I'd like to just talk to him. Just for five minutes. But, on a more selfish level, I'd like to be able to just breathe properly. To sleep properly. To not be carrying around this sludgy mass of grief everywhere I go. 

I can't actually remember what it was like to not see the world through the gauze of grief. 

This is all I know now. It's my life now. And it has been since 16 March 2001 at 5am. 

The positives in this are that I didn't think I would survive without my dad. I genuinely didn't think I could live without him. And yet, here I am. Definitely existing. Lately, even living a bit. So I guess yay me, for realising that there is nothing that will actually break me completely. That's good. I guess. 

Other than that, I see nothing good or noble in grief. 

I saw a ridiculous meme somewhere or other talking about grief 'warming you in its rays'. 

And I thought to myself, 'grief rays'. What the ever-living buggery is that about. 

Anyone who tries to extract something positive from grief is an idiot. Grief is black and it's sticky. It's painful and it's exhausting. It doesn't make you a better person for suffering. It doesn't make you a worse person. It doesn't mean anything at all. It just is. 

When someone you love dies, then you can never do anything major in your life again, without a stab of pain. 

I am somewhere I never thought I'd be. I've met someone who I adore. And who adores me. We've bought a home. We're getting married. We're adopting another dog (YES WE ARE). 

Every bit of this I do without my dad. 

I want him to see my new house. I want him to come round for dinner. I want him to walk me down the aisle. I want him to see that I did get my shit together eventually. I want him to know how much he was loved. 

But grief is more about the person suffering it. I want to hear that he still loves me. That I have become someone he would, at least, be vaguely proud of. 

Even after 15 years it takes very little for me to be right back there, early morning on 16 March 2001 taking the call from my mum. 

"Your dad's dead."

I fancy now I could hear my heart shattering into a million tiny pieces. Right then and there. 

Shortly afterwards, I remember saying to my Cruse Bereavement Counsellor that I couldn't imagine getting to the 10 year anniversary. It was inconceivable to me then that I would be able to survive 10 years without him. 

And here I am at 15. 

So I guess I was wrong again. 

I've read a lot of books about grieving. I've read a lot of quotes about grieving. I have no pithy, comforting bon mot to share. 

Grief is unlike any other emotion or feeling. It is a realm all of its own and if you've been there you know it. If you haven't, you should fear it. Because it's very likely to be worse than you can imagine.

Best I can do is heartily recommend being open, honest and fulsome with your love for your loved ones. Whether they're your dad, your mum, your mate, your sister or your pet canary. Because it just takes one day for it to all change and you don't get to say it again. 

 


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