29 October 2023

Navigating Grief

Grief is a strange bedfellow.

One minute you are overcome.  The loss of the person taken from you seems overwhelming and you don't know how you will get through it.  The next, you have to rally, organise, be strong and somehow; you manage it.

Grief ebbs and flows.  There is no constant.  It a wave that you have to ride until you can find a calm again, some peace.  Whenever that may be.  There is no timeframe.

Death, whether expected or not, is always a shock.   You can, as we all can, only hope for the kind of death that is the best that you can hope for.  No suffering.  Your family around you.  Given a chance to say goodbye.  A quick death, not long and drawn out.  While you still have dignity.

There is no one way to deal with grief.  But the most important thing to do is allow yourself to feel when you need to.  Do not bottle it up.  Do not busy yourself in an attempt to hide from it.  Because it will find you.

That is the thing about grief and loss.  It hurts.  A lot.  But running away from that hurt will only ensure that it finds you at the worst time, the worst moment.  Or will manifest in other destructive ways.

I lost a close family member to me this week.  Having lost my dad and my step already, he became like a father figure to me.  He was always there.  Ready to help.  Always showed love to my mum and I.  Someone that you could always turn to.  I loved him very much.

Having already lost two major people in my life, I know how this grief thing works now, sadly.  Which I why I share my thoughts and words with you today.

I find myself committing the sins of what you should not do and had to check myself.  Because self care when you are grieving is extremely important.  Especially when you have others who you need to be strong for.

I found myself asking for more time.  The thing is, you are always going to wish for that.  Because there is never enough time.  You can always think of things you wished that you had said or things that you had done.  

While at the hospital I chose to give my time to those that needed to see him more than I.  His sons, my mother.  By the time it was my turn to see him, things had turned for the worse and my time was missed.  So no, I did not get to say goodbye, but I did the right thing and importantly, he knew that I was there.  I wonder if he understood that. 

I also found myself wondering if he knew how much I cared, how much I loved him.  It only struck me after he died, I had never thought about it previously, that if I had ever got married to my partner, it would have been him that I would have asked to walk me down the aisle.  He was proud of me and I think that he would have loved to do it.    

All of these go round in my head and by doing so, they make the grief worse.  Questions that can never be answered.  Actions that can never be carried out.  They torment you.

As I said however, I have been down the winding path of grief before.  So when I start to question, when I start to worry about what ifs and what could have been, then I know I need to go back and remember the important things.  

I know that he loved me and he knew that I loved him.   He, my mum and I went through some tough times together and it created a bond with the three of us.  We were family.  We would always be there for each other.

I am currently writing something to say at his funeral.  I want to celebrate the man that he was.  A good man.  A kind man.  There will be many there to say goodbye to him and I confess that I am nervous to stand up and speak.  Public speaking is not my forte.  

But I will do this and hopefully do him proud and do him justice.  My wonderful Uncle Jack.

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