I spent one day in a place that was deeply connected to my Dad. I felt sad at times and the next day I was extremely drained. I’d felt low and irritable anyway and put it down to hormones.
Two days later I managed to properly speak about it. I felt I needed to talk through some other details of my day that were unrelated. But then, as is often the case when you start talking in a context of acceptance and love, I stumbled upon this extra bit. This deeper issue that I hadn’t recognised as important or impactive.
It was my sense of loss. My grief. I could see him in my mind and sense his presence. Then the pain rushed in, and the tears. Tears that hadn’t run freely for a good while. It was as if a light had flicked on. I could imagine him so clearly that I felt the pain of his absence acutely. It didn’t leave me for the rest of the day. The loss hovered close by so that a brief reflection opened the floodgates.
I was angry too. I was irritable all day and ended the day by having a disagreement with my husband and then storming off during it. This is something neither of us ever do. Not because we’re amazing at controlling our temper and ourselves, but just because it’s not how we operate and never have. I felt so angry I couldn’t see that I’d started it and I didn’t care about reconciling.
Deep down I knew it wasn’t about him, or the petty issue. I was just put in touch with the anger of grief. I wanted to punch the pillow but my introverted self didn’t permit me to make such a “scene”. Instead, I cried my little heart out. For the third time that day.
The next day I tried to remember his face again. The exact same image I had seen the day before. I couldn’t hold on to it. It wasn’t vivid, it was flickering like an old video. The light had gone out and as I tried to visualise the now unsteady memory, I felt nothing.
It was as if I had experienced a window in to this grief that most of the time my brain still numbs me from. I know that as these windows come, if I can feel the pain knowing that it won’t be around for long, then I’ll be one window closer to healing.
When did this window occur?
Over two years since he died and I’m still mostly numb. Though I think that as I’ve started to pick apart several sources of my anxiety, my over-wrought brain is able to let some of the grief through.
It’s painful progress… But isn’t the most profound progress often painful?
“Our culture is imbued with the belief that we can fix just about anything and make it better; or, if we can’t, that it’s possible to trash what we have and to start all over again. Grief is the antithesis of this belief: it eschews avoidance and requires endurance, and forces us to accept that there are some things in this world that simply cannot be fixed.” Julia Samuel, Grief Works, p. xxi