I woke up this morning and had the urge to write about grief. It’s a grizzly, grey day in JULY, my own hair is covering my keyboard; so I figured what the heck?
I think about my Ma a lot these days. I’ve thought about her everyday since she died. Sometimes it’s fleeting, sometimes not so much. I’m sharing a lot of experiences with her at the moment. We are now even sharing nurses.
- Side note: For those who worry nurses are uncaring, that the NHS is going to the dogs. Three years later, not only do these titans remember my mother, speak fondly of her but they remember and love my Da too. I bask in parental reflected glory, which makes life pretty easy for me. Nurses are Saints -
Sharing Nurses somewhat freaks me out however. I’m mostly concerned how it affects Dad but I’m just generally concerned about how all of this (flapping my hand in the air universally) affects him. He’s stoic and wonderful but I worry.
Anyway, all this (flapping my hand in the air universally, again) makes me think about Ma. She’d be yelling at me about my scatter gun approach to punctuation on little blog. She’d be giving me a lot of unsolicited advice about my bowel movements. She’d be a tigress with all medical professionals. She’d be that wonderfully exciting mix she always was as a mother. She’d be pissing me off. She’d be holding my hand.
So I think about grief.
People say there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I don’t believe that. I think there are lots of wrong ways to grieve, I think I’m proof of that.
The thing is, I was angry with my Ma when she died; for a whole heap of reasons but you know, mainly because she died. That Mother/Daughter relationship is a complex beast at the best of times. I knew how she fought and I knew how much she’d of preferred to stay but I was still mad but you can’t be mad with someone you love, not when they die. Can you?
So I pushed it down, way down. I pushed a lot down. Sedimentary layer, over sedimentary layer, in my brain and in my heart. If you are refusing to deal with everything you are feeling and that can be A LOT. You are refusing to grieve. I stopped grieving (if I ever started properly).
That’s when the flash backs started. I relived the week, days, hours of my Ma’s death; I relived them daily, for years. Anything could set me off – hands and feet were a strong trigger. I lived it everyday. It was traumatic. But I thought it was normal. I didn’t tell anybody.
THIS IS NOT A GOOD WAY TO TRY AND HEAL. THIS IS BAD GRIEVING.
When it was all fresh and new, the phrase that that was most handed to me was “Time is a great Healer”.
When all this was fresh and new, the phrase that most made me what to punch someone in the face was “Time is a great Healer”.
With hindsight, yes, I understand Time helps but Time can only help if you’re grieving right. What I got for the first 3 years of ‘Time’, was a completely screwed up way of coping. It’s taken a lot to unpick all of that.
In that “Time’, I saw other people ‘coping’ splendidly. Brother seemed to just sail on through. Miss E channeled her grief into an amazing new life. Everywhere I looked people were ‘succeeding’ at grief. So I’d try really hard too; flitting from project to project; fad to fad. Trying to excel at grief.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy; it’s also the Thief of Good Grieving. As I so valiantly proved; you also don’t know how people are coping, behind closed doors.
To the outside world I was a ‘success’ at grieving too and that, my readers, was the ticking time bomb in the palm of my hand. Trying to be a ‘success’ at grieving almost burnt me out. It certainly harmed me mentally.
If this is ringing any bells or helping anyone out there in anyway – there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Go back and read All Just A Little Bit of History Repeating. IPromise I won’t leave you hanging for long.
End of Part One