87. Work

So this week held some new challenges for me. I have now worked all three shift times that the department runs on, and I have to say that Night Shift is really hard! Sleeping and eating are all very disrupted and catching up with people nearly impossible! Thankfully I only have to do 3-4 nights at a time, and there are several weeks between turns. I’m proud of myself for giving it a go and I know that Claytie would be proud of me too.

Some of the things I have seen at work this week, have been quite confronting and it has taken a bit to get my head around it. The emergency department is a whole world on its own. The mix of people that come through the doors is vast and fascinating! For the most part they have been lovely and understanding of my newness and learning, and I am grateful for that, but there have been things that have happened that I have had to really think about.

One roles of my job happens near a private room that is used for ‘end of life’ patients. People who are not going to survive without the machines that they are attached to, and whose family members have made the decision to remove them from those machines. It is hard having to do the admin stuff knowing that for these people and their families things will never be the same, and understanding just how hard life will be for them going forward.

We had one such patient this week – my first. A woman who was not yet 60, brought in after a massive brain haemorrhage – a stroke. She was brought into the private room from the emergency bay and moved to a bed before her family joined her and the doctors in the room. The grief was palpable as they walked past us into the room, and once the machines were turned off, it was loud.

Other peoples grief is almost harder than my own in a whole lot of ways, and that comes as a surprise when my own is so very heavy. Listening to this family grieve their person was really hard. I know what the next bit looks like for them and it is not a nice picture. It is part of life tho and I know I will see more of these situations in the job I am now doing. I know that there will be an amount of desensitisation that happens with time, and that saddens me too – life, and it’s end, should carry weight with it and we should feel it.

The other thing that I have found confronting has been the patients who come into emergency with what can only be described as very significant mental health issues. It is really sad to see how many people have huge mental health issues (I would almost say at least a quarter of the presentations) , and how hard that is to work through.

It is hard listening to their anguish and then watching them abuse the people who are there to help. It is hard seeing them run through the department with security and/or police chasing them, pushing through people and the paraphernalia that comes with treating them. Spitting at nurses or shitting (literally) on their beds and throwing it around And it is especially confronting seeing them needing to be restrained by what looks like an excessive number of people for their own safety.

It hasn’t all been negative tho, and I am really enjoying the role over all so far. The people I have been working with have been lovely, and I am starting to get my head around the things I have to do. It is hard being the new person, and not knowing all the things that you need to know, but that will come with time and I need to be kinder to myself with the process. I am working on mindfulness and relaxation (my bath has been getting quite the workout) and that has helped with the anxiety that is constant. I keep on putting one foot in front of the other and I have Clayties voice in my ear telling me I’m doing ok.

86. Oh Boy, Here we go!

So sometimes, something happens, and you just know you have made the right decision. My first week in my new job was just that! I have always wanted to work in the emergency department. Anyone who knows me knows that I am partial to medical stuff -particularly carnage, and my first day has reaffirmed that I belong with the crazy chaos that DEM (department of emergency medicine) entails.

One of the first patients that came in on day one, via ambulance was a homeless man who had some chest pain, due largely to his social situation. He was admitted and taken to a room for treatment. … all standard stuff up until this point. Not too far behind him came his partner, and at this stage the story becomes much more interesting.

She arrived amidst much commotion… a very small statured woman (not sure if the term midget is sooo politically incorrect as to not be used) – but I would say barely one metre high – belt buckle height on me I would think. She was being dragged – cartoon style- through the doors by a very large (shoulder height on her) Pitt bull “service dog” belonging to our patient.

The dog was thrilled and delighted to be visiting a new place, and other than being incredibly enthusiastic, was a very nice animal. The woman attached to him, and being dragged through the department was not. … she was shown to the bay (luckily for the dog, one with doors) that her partner was being treated in, and very promptly made herself what can only be described as a nest, in the corner of the room. She got comfy, snuggled in and had a nap on the floor with the dog!

At some point during the morning, and while the gentleman was being treated, things went awry and the woman was asked to leave. She did not take kindly to the suggestion and needed to be escorted by two incredibly burly security guards. I have to confess to knowing a whole lot of the words she was using to describe the staff she encountered on her way out, but I did also learn a whole bunch of new ones. It was an insanely memorable morning and one I will be talking about for some time to come!

All of the staff I have encountered so far have been lovely, and I am learning something new every day – I do have to confess to feeling quite overwhelmed with the workload a couple of times, but I know that will get better with time and experience. There is still a whole bunch of anxiety about doing full time shift work for me – I am working my first weekend shift today, but in terms of the clientele- I think I have found my people! I love the variety of things that come through the doors. I love the chaos and the crazy, and I am fascinated by the carnage! …. Hopefully now the rest of it falls into place and I settle in the way I would like, but all in all, not a bad start!

85. Holding it at bay

This week has been an exercise in holding my anxiety at bay. I had my final day in the job I have been doing for the last 12 months on Friday. For the most part I have really enjoyed it. I have met some fabulous people and had a laugh most days, but a new job has come my way and it starts tomorrow. I have always wanted to work in the emergency department, so that is where I am headed. It is a big change for me. I will be working full time (something I have never done!) and I will be doing shift work on a 24 hour, rotating roster – I am incredibly nervous about it! Wish me luck!

You would think that after a huge change like my favourite person dying, anything else that happens would be easy. In fact, the complete opposite is true for me. These days I struggle with any kind of change, even the little things cause my anxiety to spike. I am constantly running through checklists and contingency plans for all kinds of scenarios in my head. It is an exhausting process. I try and channel Claytie telling me ‘it is what is it, it will be what it will be… suck it up and just get in with it’.. but in my brain it is not always that easy.

I know, in theory, that I will be fine. I am going to be doing something that I have always wanted to try, and it does feel like it is meant to be. But anxiety is a wicked thing that doesn’t really care! It seeks out and magnifies potential problems. It’s that feeling of imposter syndrome – I’m not really good enough, people don’t actually like me, I don’t really fit in…. It’s an all round yucky feeling and I know that it is not really rational. I’m just not entirely sure how to stop it, and when it is bad, then pretty much everything is impacted. I try to change my internal dialogue… I amp up the positive affirmations and I practice mindfulness, but it can be quite difficult to turn things around in my head.

Some of you get to see the actual mess that I become, and thanks for being kind about it, but for the most part I try to put a big fat smile on my face and fake the hell out of pretty much everything. It is not always an ideal response. Talking about massive anxiety with a big smile of your face sends incredibly mixed messages, and totally underplays what is actually going on for me. Things happen around me that I smile and nod about, I go along with but actually hate….but I don’t know what else to do. I get so overwhelmed it’s either fake my way through it or curl up in a ball and sob – sometimes both!

Anxiety has been part of my world for quite some time now. I am working on it and myself, and I know that I will find a way through it. It is another part of the grief process. The person that has always made me feel better is no longer here to do that. I am relying on memories of conversations to anchor myself and that is hard. It is all hard but I have no choice other than to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

On a completely different note, today is Mother’s Day. My mum has been my biggest supporter and she is absolutely my go to for pretty much everything that happens in my world! I am sure that I would not be where I am without her help. She is always there to talk me through the anxiety when it hits… and for anything else that happens! I could not do it without her, and I am truly lucky to have her x

84. Untethered

I started the second last day of my annual leave with an early morning. I really wanted my feet in the sand and salt water one more time before I go back to work on Monday. It was glorious… I had a big fat full moon shining through my window as I made my way to the coast, and then the most fabulous golden colours as the sun came up. It was absolutely worth the super early start. I spent a couple of hours on the beach, looking at the clouds, people watching and reading a book and I am so happy that I pushed myself to go.

This week I also went to a support group catch up, one that I have not been to before but know several people at, and it is always interesting to see where the conversation will go. Sometimes it’s is fun and superficial, but other times serious topics get discussed. This week there was quite a lot about new relationships and how hard they can be.

Everyone is filled with hope and wants desperately for things to work – a kind of picking up where you left off, but with a different person. That is incredibly simplified – nothing is ever that easy, but is a bit like how it feels, especially if your relationship with the person that died was a truly good one. The harsh reality tho, is that we are now all very broken people, and unless you’re willing to work on and be completely honest with yourself, it is nearly impossible to fit with someone else.

There is an idea in the group, that a relationship with someone who is also widowed would be easier because they will understand completely when grief hits. Several people that I know, have found themselves in this kind of scenario, and it is true to a point. It kind of works when you can ‘take turns’ to be the sad one, but that’s not what seems to actually happen. Grief is not neat and tidy and willing to wait for the other person to finish their moment. Grief hits whenever it needs to and if you are not willing or able to be completely honest, and have room for your grief as well as theirs, it can feel like a competition in a lot of ways.

Relationships in any situation are hard and need constant work – even the really good ones. Grief adds a dimension and challenge that is difficult. It is like a third person, a needy one, that keeps butting in and wanting attention, and if you don’t give it the attention it needs, things just blow up. I’m not saying that it can’t work, just that it takes extra work to navigate grief in the middle of it all.

Seperate to the Widows group, I had a fabulous conversation with a friend this week and it has given me a whole lot to think about. It was incredibly varied and wide ranging. It challenged my thinking in a whole lot of ways, but one thing stood out for me. At one stage the question was asked ‘what do you look for in people?’ It was not asked in the context of anything in particular, but rather in a general way. It made me think, and my answer to it was..’ nothing and everything!…something that resonates… some kind of familiarity… home’.

Those kinds of things are much harder for me to see without Claytie. I have lost my anchor and my certainty. That feeling of knowing who I am is gone now and that is really disconcerting. I have always known and been comfortable with myself, but since Claytie died, that image of myself has completely changed and huge chunks erased. It is a feeling of being untethered and it is not one I am at all comfortable with. The response I got was that perhaps right now I am not supposed to be anchored, maybe I’m supposed to open the sails and catch some wind.

It is a nice thought, but also a huge challenge for me. I know that I can’t ever go back to being the person that I was before. Life makes sure that you have to move forward rather than back, I guess naively I just never expected it to be SO hard. I’m trying to take the pressure off and just go one day at a time.. really that is all you can do. I am learning a whole lot about myself going through this process, somethings I like better than others, but on the whole I guess I’m doing ok.

83. Leave

I have been on annual leave from work this week and had all kinds of plans for being productive. As with most well laid plans, that doesn’t seem to have happened quite as I thought it would. This week, I have been tired… the sort of whole body tiredness that comes from an emotional rather than physical place, and I have instead spent quite a lot of time at home on the couch crocheting granny squares for a blanket that may or may not happen some day.

I think it has been good for me to sit and have some quiet time. I know I have needed it. We are only 1/3 of the way through the year, but a lot has happened in my world since Christmas that has needed a whole lot of processing. Losing the centre of your universe creates a kind of hyper-vigilance in all kinds of ways that doesn’t really let up. People are constantly surprising – and I know this is a theme that comes up for me quite often. I find myself drawn into games that I have no idea how to play, and am always surprised by them. I take most things at face value which is something I quite like about myself, and mostly it has worked in my favour. Sometimes though, I do get it wrong or the game changes and then I am caught out and need to process.

This is the first block of leave I have had since Claytie died, where I haven’t had a whole lot of stuff planned- every other time, there have been big trips or other social things. I did go away for my birthday weekend, but other than that I mostly thought I would do stuff around my house. I have done a couple of things – I bought my first ever new TV the other day, something that Claytie was always in charge of before, and some of my cupboards have had a tidy, but for the most part, it has been quiet time at home.

Something big that did happen this week that I have also needed to think about, is another change at work. I recently applied for a new position – I had not really been looking, I am quite happy where I have been, but it crossed my desk and was pretty much the one job I have always wanted since starting work with Qld Health. I had my first interview in a very long time just before going on leave, and found out this week that I was successful with my application. So, in a couple of weeks time I will be changing jobs and going into the Emergency department. It’s a full time role with shift work, both of which are things that I have not done for a very, very long time!

I am nervous and anxious about another big change, but I am also excited for the challenge. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a huge interest in most things medical, I have always wanted to work in Emergency, and this role will take me as close to the full on stuff as I can get without a medical degree. I am anxious about the change, and what it will bring to my world and the routines that I have. I am very much a creature of routine and I know I will find a new one soon enough; but change is hard and I am missing my chief cheerleader. I know Claytie would be excited for me. He was absolutely the best person to settle my anxiety. He is always missing, but sometimes that black hole gets just a bit bigger. The boys have been super supportive and I know that they are happy for me, but none of it feels right without Claytie.

Change is something that happens for everyone, all of the time. I have never been very good with it – anxiety has been my friend in this department for a long time now, but the hyper-vigilance that has come from losing the most important person in my world, seems to have magnified my awareness of all of the changes that we have been through. I guess it is a proper awareness of just how short life can be. It is no longer taking a whole lot of stuff for granted and appreciating (with a hefty dose of anxiety) that change is what life is all about.

I have one more week of leave before I go back to work, fingers crossed it is slightly more productive!?

82. 49

So this weekend I have had my birthday. I am now 49 years old and I am incredibly grateful for that. I have always loved birthdays and I usually try to make mine last as long as I can. Since Claytie died tho, there is a level of anxiety that comes with the day – I am grateful to be able to celebrate a new number, I am really lucky – but at the same time I am so incredibly sad that Clayties numbers stopped changing at 46. It is not fair.

I have been super fortunate to be able to spend my birthday weekend this year at the beach with some of my favourite people. I watched the sun come up and faced it front-on in my birthday suit. Standing naked in nature is an incredibly liberating feeling I have done it several times now and I love it! I can tell you my kids are probably less fond of the evidence, but mostly they just laugh at me!

Sunrise on my birthday.

My girlfriends and I have walked in the sand, been thrown around by waves, talked about all manner of things, laughed, eaten and drunk way too much and I have enjoyed every minute. It has been a proper recharge for the soul. Sunrise has been different each morning, and I have loved them all. I think that watching the sun come up at the ocean is one of my very favourite things!- and I love the wild, windy, crazy days the best.

In the last week I also got a new tattoo… an Aboriginal art inspired dragonfly. It is my second dragonfly tattoo and it felt just right to get it done. Dragonflies signify change, transformation, adaptability and self realisation, all things that I have had to learn and implement in so many new and different ways since Claytie died. I have had to adjust my whole world in ways that I would never have guessed at, and I think for the most part, I am doing ok.

My life at the moment feels a whole lot like I am at a crossroad – there are a bunch of things going on for me, some good, and some not so fun. It is times like this that I particularly miss Claytie. He was always my sounding board for every decision, and while I have people I can talk to, it will never be the same. I have had to realise that I have to make sure I put myself first and trust my gut to know what’s right for me. That realisation that I am on my own, never gets any easier… my person is gone.

There isn’t a single day that goes by, that he is not part of, and I wish more than anything that this wasn’t the way our story turned out… but then I remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, I am not actually anything special, none of us are. This shit happens to people every single day. We are all going to lose someone life changing at some point in our lives. For some it is early and for others late. Some get a timeframe due to illness and for others like us it happens in an unexpected instant. It is horrendous any way you look at it, but it is life, and none of us are exempt. For me, that reminder helps a whole lot more with living than I would have expected.

I do the things that I have to do, so that I can do the things that I want to, and I do it because that’s what Claytie would have expected and done himself. It would be easy to curl into a ball and be miserable, but that is not who I am and it is not who Claytie loved. I live my life for both of us and I don’t ever overlook how lucky I am. I have a whole lot of things that I hope to be able to do before my next birthday, on my own and with other people. I am grateful for the luck that I have had and I hope that I continue to be this lucky.

81. Sunrise

This week has been a week of introspection, hard decisions not always executed ideally, and interesting conversations with a whole bunch of people. It has been a reminder that I’m not the only one with ‘stuff’ going on and that we all need someone to listen and be kind.

Something that I love and am grateful for, is that some friendships are strong enough that they can withstand big things especially when they are talked through and communicated. I’m not always great with difficult conversations, and recently I didn’t do so well with something I had going on. My chosen method of communication for this situation was not ideal. It felt like the best way for me to say what I needed at the time, but I know it was not a great way for the person involved to receive it. I have had so many relationships with people in our lives change since Claytie died (I have talked about it often) I am really grateful that a proper follow up conversation went a very long way to helping resolve and keep this one.

Sleep has been missing for me again this week, but rather than spending too much time wallowing about it, on Wednesday morning I took myself off super early to watch the sun come up.

I would absolutely recommend that everyone should do this at least once! Head to the beach (or out to the country side), find a quiet spot and watch the horizon. The colours in the sky as the world wakes up are magic. Its a slow coming to life that is glorious to watch, and to listen to. Waves crashing, birds slowly making their presence known and where I was, enthusiastic exercisers following their morning routine. It was cold and stunning and I’m so glad it was part of my week!

I was lucky to find a friend willing to brave the super early morning with me, and it was really lovely to have the company and the conversation. I love that after a lifetime of knowing someone they can still surprise you in a million ways! I also love that sometimes I can be the sounding board instead of feeling like it’s always me off-loading my stuff!

One of my boys moved out this week too, which is another big change for our house. It means two have flown the nest and two are still here with me. It’s such a weird feeling for me, but absolutely the right thing for my son. He has moved out before and it had a huge impact on his world. He came back home for a while to regroup and is ready to try again. I’m super excited for him and I know that he will do great things… still, as mum tho it feels bittersweet to not have him at home! There has been a lot of furniture moving and cleaning of spaces and the next in line gets ready to claim the ‘big’ room, and that has been fun to watch too.

My birthday is coming up at the end of the week. Another one without Claytie and another one making me older that he ever gets to be. It’s a hard thing to get my head around, and I’m not sure that it will ever get any easier! It’s a hum of anxiety that just sits there making itself known periodically. It’s one of those things – the marching of time- that takes me further away from when we last were. Grief is such a weird thing in so many ways… you want to get away from it but in lots of ways you also want to stay in the middle of it because it’s your connection to your person. It really is a rollercoaster!

I have a couple of things that I am putting out into the universe for the coming week, fingers crossed that they work out for me… I’ll let you know what happens!

80. TLC

Mindfulness and self care are two words that I have heard and thought about quite a bit this week. They seem to be popping up all over the place, so clearly a message from the universe to pay attention! It’s been kind of an average week in most ways, but my anxiety has been making itself comfortable again, which is not so much fun. At the moment I just feel like I am constantly under pressure and it’s not the nicest feeling to have, hence the need for some TLC.

Since Christmas and the stuff that took place, I have once again had huge problems with anxiety and sleep. It is a situation that is completely out of my control. I didn’t cause it, I did nothing wrong. I have tried but it has not been resolved and it has been devastating. It has taken me right back to the early days of my grief and it has been really, really hard. It had taken up a whole lot of my time and energy and it has shaken me in all kinds of ways. I’m questioning and second guessing a whole lot of things in my world at the moment. Some of it has been easy, some things much harder, but that’s life isn’t it?!

I read somewhere that the third year of grieving a huge loss like I have had can in lots of ways be the hardest. The first year you are just numb, going through the motions of the day by day stuff. Everything is hard and triggers emotions. The second year is more of a realisation that this is actually your life now; that this huge thing happened in your world and you have to survive around it. Its constant adjustments to your thinking and it’s a case of realty setting in. The third year apparently is the year that you try to figure yourself out. The year that you try and find the you that you now are and how you fit in the world; and that’s kind of what this feels like for me at the moment.

So many of my relationships have changed in the last couple of years. Old friends have left, new friends have come in. I have had big changes in my family and also at work. Some changes have been fabulous and others absolutely devastating, but all of them have been eye opening. All of them have taught me about vulnerability, strength and resilience. They have shown me that I can survive.

Maybe the universe is telling me that now is the time to look for more than survival. That all this pressure is telling me now is the time that I allow myself to forgive and be kind to myself. That now is the time to slow down and spend time learning who I am now and learning to like that person. Maybe now is the time to figure out how to be ok on my own, to accept that I can and will be fine and that I have got this.

I do know that since Christmas I have enjoyed being on my own much more than I have ever before. That it feels healthy to take time out and that I’m ok with missing out on stuff that I would have always done before. That quiet time is actually good for me and that saying no is ok. I am allowed to be selfish and change my mind. Mindfulness and self care are really important for my mental health and I need to give myself permission to prioritise that. I don’t have to have everything figured out immediately. There is no rule book for this situation, everyday is a step into figuring it out.

I am pretty sure that this like most things, is a ‘swings and roundabouts’ situation and that I’m still going to do a lot more stuff that is probably good for me; and that’s ok too! Life is much shorter than any of us want to admit to ourselves and there are so many great adventures to be had. I want to have a whole lot of those adventures, but in the meantime I am going to work on being kinder and more gentle on myself. This is all part of my new normal and it’s ok.

79. The duality of grief

This week I have had some feedback that got me thinking about the weirdness of grief and this whole process. How one minute I can be a sobbing basket case on the floor, and the next laughing with someone about something stupid. One day I’m desperately sad and missing Claytie because it’s been two and a half years since he has been gone, and the next day I am out with a friend having a good time. I get that it’s a weird thing… trust me!!! It’s all kinds of crazy in my head too , but it turns out that it’s not only normal, apparently it’s actually quite healthy!

People that are much smarter than me have done a whole bunch of research into this, and their theory involves ‘loss -oriented’ and ‘restoration-oriented’ sides to grief. They are kind of self explanatory.

Loss oriented grief is triggered by memories of the person who died. You are filled with sadness remembering good times, looking at photos, doing things that remind you of your person. It might be seeing someone or something that makes you remember a special moment, or passing someone in the shops who is wearing a similar shirt or cologne. Loss oriented grief brings up sadness, anger and loneliness… it is the really hard part of grief.

Restoration oriented grief is exactly what it sounds like. It is doing things that distract you from your grief so that you can get on with the day to day things that have to happen for life to go on. Things like chores around the house, work and even social activities or watching tv. It’s a case of repressing just enough of the hard emotions so that you can still function the way you need to in your world and restore some normality.

There are also the more well known ‘5 stages of grieving’. Most people have heard of them – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It used to be thought that these were a linear progression, but they are definitely not… they also don’t come with an end date! They fit themselves into the process wherever they like. Sometimes rationally, other times not so much.

Then there is the oscillation between these processes – the Yin and Yang of grieving. The experts believe that it is important to embrace both sides of the process so that you can tackle the reality of your loss and grief bit by bit. It makes a whole lot of sense to me, and I can absolutely relate to the oscillation! That is my life at the moment!

So much research has been done about all kinds of things that make us human, and I guess that’s important; but none of it really covers each individual experience. I can relate to a lot of the things that I have read about and they make a whole lot of sense to the overall picture. None of them feel like they are enough to explain the huge emptiness inside of me since Claytie died tho. They don’t cover the personal-ness of my grief, of my loneliness, of my anger at the unfairness that the most amazing person in my world is gone; and I hate that there are some people who should know me, who are not able to see past themselves to understand the whole picture of my life now.

78. Keeping up appearances

For the most part I try to be 100% honest with what is going on in my world – I always have… My mum used to make me write a list of how I was feeling to give to her when I was little, because even then I liked to share what was happening for me!! Those of you that have followed this from the beginning know that I don’t always paint myself in the best light. I own my flaws and faults and I try to be real.

Having said that, sometimes it’s easier to say I’m fine when I am absolutely not, because the person I am talking to is not going to cope with the things I have going on, or because I just don’t want to share my grief with them. Sometimes it’s because I’m well and truly going through a ‘fake it til you make it’ moment, and acknowledging what is actually happening for me will just derail me. Mostly tho if you ask me how I am, I will tell you exactly!

I know that for some people though, keeping up appearances particularly in grief is a much much bigger thing. I guess some feel like it is not appropriate for the world to see your feelings because you’re a man, or older or because you feel judged. Perhaps you weren’t married to your person or had only been together for a short time. Maybe they are a parent or sibling. Perhaps they were sick for a long time. It could be that there are kids involved, maybe it is how you were raised and you just don’t know how to let yourself feel the hard stuff so you suppress it and pretend you’re not hurting – even if that means lying to yourself about it. For some people pretending that none of it is real and not talking about the person who’s death has left a gigantic hole in their world is the only way that they can survive.

I’m not judging, each persons journey is their own. I am certainly not any sort of expert when it comes to this stuff, but I do know for me that if I don’t verbalise and feel what is going on there is no way that I would be able to function. Pushing down my thoughts and feelings will only work for so long before I seem to explode with it, and then it feels like a much bigger thing than it would be if I had just acknowledged it when I felt it.

I also think of it as a way of honouring my person. If I don’t talk about and remember Claytie, who will!? I can’t pretend that his life hasn’t had a profound impact on mine. We were together for almost 30 years and have 4 amazing kids together. There are so many stories and fabulous memories! His life was my life and I can’t and won’t pretend for the sake of everyone around me, that I am not absolutely devastated by his death. I am not capable of putting on any sort of lasting facade and pretending I am ok; but that is my process and who I am.

Grieving for Claytie is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. It takes up almost my whole life these days, and while it is such a hard thing, there is also a kind of comfort in it – he was and always will be the biggest part of my world. I miss everything about him, and I miss the memories that we won’t get to make. Missing him and trying to survive takes up so much of my energy, that I don’t have any left to pretend that everything is hunky-dory and perfectly fine; we’re doing ok, but I need to be real about it. For others though, it is much more important that the world sees them just as they were before and that appearances are kept up and privacy maintained.

I get sad for people that I see, who are more concerned with avoiding their feelings and with how others perceive them than feeling ok about openly acknowledging their sadness. I get angry that there are still so many that think grief has a timeline, and that at some sort of arbitrarily set date you should feel better. I’m disappointed that society isn’t more real and accepting about just how hard this is and I am frustrated that ‘keeping up appearances’ is so ingrained that people don’t think twice about it and how damaging it can be.

There are so many people affected by grief when one person dies. The ripples of that impact spread enormously, and quite often unexpectedly. You should be allowed to feel whatever you need to, without worrying about what others think. If you want a safe place to feel some of those things, I’m here. I have space, I won’t judge and I’ll make you a cuppa… we can cry together xx