My Big Fat (grief) Diary: pt 1
Tuesday 17th January 2017
My mum died quite suddenly on the 7th October last year after a very short illness. We weren’t particularly close so I’m surprised at the way this ‘process of grief’ that I’m going through has affected me.
It does feel like a journey of sorts, I can’t say a roller coaster journey, but that’s just me, because the highs aren’t that high, however, the lows, I have to admit, are low.
But it does feel like a journey. Sometimes it’s like I’m travelling through quicksand.
I criticise myself inwardly because if I was a ‘real’ writer I would have started this diary on day one; I would have realised the potential this life change has offered and started scribing straight away, but, to be honest, it’s only now that I feel I can actually start to articulate.
Studies of grief, most noticeably the Kübler-Ross model, (Gosh! How learned I sound) shows that grief is a process that goes through stages, and, I’m guessing that I’m in the depression/ testing stage. (And yes, I know that it’s not linear, we don’t all go through all the stages etc. etc. and I’m not experiencing complicated grief, just the everyday, run-of-the-mill stuff, same as most other grieving persons).
First came the numbness and denial, a half-reality where I was present but disconnected. My mum was dying but I refused to believe it, I tried to just plain ignore it. There was anger too, oh how I criticised my mother (this was pre-death) in my head, and, to my shame, to friends and colleagues who would listen. I was angry that she was ill, that she’d just given up without even, in my eyes, putting up a semblance of a fight. Bargaining for me took the form of scouring the internet to find a way through the grief without feeling it, looking for a quick fix so that I just didn’t have to feel.
Now just over three months (it’s 103 days to be exact) after she died (I hate passed away/ left/ went/ fell asleep – she died, she’s dead) I’m left with a kind of void inside, a disconnectedness. But I am starting to thaw. I think that I’m moving towards the ‘testing’ stage. I’m on the way out, I hope.
But it is depressing at times.
I never quite know how I’m going to feel from one day to the next. For instance, I had a good weekend, I can’t remember much about it now but I know that I was feeling positive, I’ve cracked it I thought, and yet yesterday I felt wretched. Unable to do very much at all apart from distract myself.
The Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle
What I find frustrating is the way that grief seemingly tricks you; you have a couple of good moments and start to believe that you’re over the worst, that you’re moving on, then WHAM! It’s back. You wake up, can’t motivate yourself at all, you feel useless, and nothing seems to propel you forward.
You waste days.
I know that I’m starting to thaw though, I came to the park, I’d been encouraged to get up early and swim, for that I needed to walk through the park.
It looked beautiful; it’s a crisp January day. There is frost on the grass, topped by a fine mist made more beautiful by the bright, but hazy, sunshine.
It took my breath away. I felt connected to it, I saw and felt it. I identified regret that my mum wouldn’t see this or anything else again, that our time in general here on this planet is so short, that I hadn’t been seeing these sights and appreciating them, that I have been so disconnected and missing out on my life. I tried not to feel disappointed in myself that I can’t just ‘pull myself together’.
‘My grief’- everyone’s is different and personal, I am starting to get to know mine, acknowledge it and carry it around with me – sits on my back, just at the base of my neck and between my shoulders. I have been trying to ignore it, tensing up against it, but I (only today) have started to visualise it as a sad creature, a bit like a bush baby, with huge, dejected eyes. And, like most other creatures, it needs to be nurtured and carried and looked after.