Friends and acquaintances have told me that my musings around my breast cancer journey have been helpful, and it is with this in mind that I thought I would share my thoughts and life around grief.
My two favourite books as a child were The story of Babar and Heidi. These books were unwittingly my introduction to loss as both Babar the elephant and Heidi had lost their Mother. I remember crying for Babar as his loss was quite graphic “After his mother is killed by a hunter, Babar avoids capture by escaping to the city”
I wonder if that is where my fear of loss stemmed from?…..
Prior to losing Julian, it would never have occurred to me to learn or buy books about grief despite having lost my Father in my early 20’s.
We live in a culture that doesn’t know how to grieve or experience pain. I naively thought that by keeping busy ( and I was incredibly busy for 3 months because of my youngest grandson being so sick) that I would bypass it and avoid my grief.
On a sweltering summers day in July 2019, I got into the car after having been to Waitrose and listened to an answerphone message telling me my husband had collapsed and could I keep my phone clear. I was due to go to my daughters with some food I had bought and decided to continue with that plan. My logical mind told me he had collapsed from heatstroke, but my intuition told me it was worse. I tried to keep calm whilst driving, but the more I drove, the more I knew. I took a wrong turning and ended up completely lost, going down a very narrow country lane and getting more and more anxious. The sat nav lost signal, and my phone lost signal.
Eventually I got to my daughter’s and then went through the agonising hours of waiting.
I have never been to that Waitrose since, and for many months I could not pass it without crying.
The other day I was again going to my daughters, and because I knew there were roadworks along my usual route, I went another unfamiliar way. It was a sunny day. I had music playing, and I was driving along a narrow road. Suddenly I couldn’t breath and began to get really anxious, and I knew that I was reliving what I had tried to suppress for 15 months that awful morning when I had to drive despite intuitively knowing.
There is no quick fix for grief and no avoiding it. We can suppress it all we like but eventually, one
needs to move through the pain, step into it, get to know it, feel it, sit with it and stop trying to avoid it because whether we like it or not, eventually it will come out.
A friend commented in a text message that I always seem remarkable on Facebook, and I replied I can hide behind Facebook
I say I’m okay because that’s what people want to hear. We live in a culture that doesn’t want to experience pain or hear about someone else’s pain. We live in a society that wants to hear you are okay.
Sometimes I’m okay, and sometimes I’m not. I believe it is essential to share what we learn in this life so that we can perhaps make someone else’s life that bit easier and it is with this in mind that I am going to write more blogs not only about my own grief but things I learn along the way.