My parents died over 15 years ago. Before I was a mum, before the relationship I was in became abusive (he’d moved himself in before the funeral though) , before I became an adult. So I should surely be ‘over it’ by now?
I am of course fine the majority of the time. I live my life , I constantly tell stories to my children about the grandparents they never met. Chats with my siblings about our parents usually end in giggles rather than tears.
Grief is a weird emotion though, unlike any other I think. It allows you to function after the raw all encompassing period ends. It allows you to do the most normal of everyday tasks. However it’s a little like a door left open a tiny crack, which at anytime can be shoved open with such a huge force it cracks the adjoining wall leading the whole house to fall on top of you.
Things that set off the stomach wrenching, whole body ache of missing someone happen less and less over time, in my experience. The first year is the worst. First Christmas, first birthday, and the times you hear juicy gossip and think how you can’t wait to tell… Oh you can’t, that person does not exist anymore.
People are right when they give you the ‘time is a healer’ line. As years goes on it usually takes something significant to make you feel the grief as raw as that first year. For me, having my first child was a massive one. Looking at my son, loving him so utterly and realising, for the very first time that that’s how my parents must have felt about me. That was a tough one.
Last week though, I had an unexpected hit of grief. One of those ones where it is absolutely necessary to cry loudly, produce more snot than you believed possible and do the whole curl up in a ball thing. (and don’t get me wrong I felt so much better for it)
It was all Up, the movie fault. It’s always going to make you shed a tear. That first ten minutes is a sob athon right there. The thing that caused the kick to the tummy, grief ridden blow for me though, was when my little girl turned to me and asked why was the man still talking to his wife when she was dead. Understandable question. Now as much as I tried to get the line ” because he still loves her so much” from my brain to my mouth, my trembling lip would not let it happen. It was like the opposite of being told not to laugh and giggles sneaking out. Thankfully, little girl wasn’t really looking for an answer and was soon distracted by talking dogs, so I got to go and have a good cry, without too much bother.
I do talk to my parents a bit. It’s usually phrases such as ” so what the hell am I meant to do now? ” and ” you could’ve stuck around a little longer to help me with this ” I’m not sure I noticed I did it though, until my little girl asked the question. Maybe, thinking about it now, the correct answer would have been, ” because it’s too hard to let go forever”
I’m still not sure though why such a simple thing set me off.I don’t know what the next thing will be in years to come, which is where grief is quite powerful really. In a way it’s reassuring. That total and utter void that comes in the immediate aftermath of losing someone is gone. It does no harm at all though to be reminded from time to time that that little chink from your heart is still missing.
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