There is no manual. No right way to mourn someone you have lost. Right now, I am in the thick of it. And I am doing my best to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I find comfort in normality, and other times I detest it. With that being said, I find it too difficult to ‘be’ online if I am only meeting you halfway. Honesty has served me well to this point, and so I hope in sharing my current feelings, it’ll help guide me through this murky water.
To acknowledge my pain is to begin accepting it.
There’s a quietness now you’re not here. The silence is deafening. It swallows me up and my ears ring with the stillness.
My body aches and my heart feels empty. A tightness in my chest constricts my lungs and air feels like a luxury my body can’t afford. I practice my breathing but it doesn’t ease. The weight is heavy, the grasp strong.
I don’t feel anything.
I feel so angry.
I feel overwhelming sadness, so full and fresh and raw.
Stop the world. I want to get off.
But it doesn’t stop, does it? I am trying so hard to slow it down, to scream at the top of my lungs. Doesn’t anyone understand that everything should stop? How can you just keep going? How can I eat breakfast or put on mascara. Open my inbox or speak on the phone. Make plans for tomorrow or the next day. Nothing feels right.
And yet. The world won’t stop. And I have a family to care for. Responsibilities to uphold. A present time that is moving forward, with or without me.
I’m lost, because life doesn’t fit the way it always did. It’s like a shoe that’s too big, slipping off and making me stumble.
I do feel grateful, though. That you are at peace. And beyond lucky to have had all my years with you. A.A Milne said “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” And I am. Love is a fortunate thing. I was fortunate to have you.
But I am scared, of love. Because to love means to feel and to feel means to hurt. In this moment it’s hard to recognise that all the years of love and happiness are worth the pain. How do I flick that switch in my brain? How do I appreciate what I have had without feeling the hurt of what I have lost?
My stomach is upset and my brain feels tight in my skull.
I think I am a rose. Layers of emotion. Wilting the longer time stretches itself out. Petals dropping to the ground and turning crisp. A sort of delicacy too fragile to touch.
I know, because others have told me, that time will adapt these feelings. They will grow and change and bloom in different ways.
And I suppose that’s another thing I’m afraid of. Time making the distance longer and the feelings less potent.
But for now I will sit here. In my shoes that are too big. And ride the wave of grief as best I can.
Photo by Alexandra Cameron, many moons ago.