It’s a myth, that profound grief diminishes. It’s been eight months since Rich died, and I hurt, everywhere, just as much as I did the day that I had to walk out of the hospital a few hours after he’d died, knowing that I’d never get to hold him in person again. It still doesn’t feel real, and I’m not sure that it ever will, when we’d planned to do so much more together. When we didn’t even get to experience middle age let alone retirement alongside each other. Our present and our future have been snatched away, and I’m left trying to figure out how to get through each day, when my soulmate, the man who said I saved him in so many ways, as he did me, was taken so suddenly.
What has changed, is the way that I behave around people, and the people I choose to see. Wherever possible, I try to see only ‘safe’ people, those who won’t dismiss or minimise my pain. When this isn’t possible, I make sure that I can access safe people soon after I have to put myself through the distress of being around those who don’t care to soothe my heart and mind. Even if causing distress is not someone’s aim, the fact is that it happens, and as I keep getting reminded to practice self care, then it’s something I have to be mindful of. I suppose in many ways this has led to a degree of isolation, but by traveling to Rich’s and mine’s special places for the grief walks and grief swims, and meeting new people who’ve become committed members of our grief tribe, we now have more people in our life than we did before, so I feel less crappy about those who’ve decided that for whatever reason, they can’t be there for me (and Rich – we’ll always be a we, like it or lump it!)
Even online, I have to be careful what I read and who I correspond with. My grief tribe has literally been a life-saver, but there are others grieving who might not be aware that when they write about healing and recovery, as if grief is an illness, something to be gotten over as quickly as possible, and back to ‘normal’, that they are doing a disservice to those who are in pain. Excuse my welsh, but I really don’t give a shit that this and that has helped you ‘heal’, when some losses change us in ways that there’s no coming back from. If you consider yourself ‘healed’, then good for you, but please don’t preach to those of in such pain that we know that no matter what has helped someone else, won’t touch the way we feel. Whe you physically lose a love so great, thinking positively or expressing gratitude, or finding a reason to smile today – my favourite shittiest platitude, is not going to do anything to make you feel all the feels any less. Instead, it just makes you want to punch the person trying to get you to ‘do happy’.