I’ve been grumpy as hell this week and ready to cry at the drop of a hat. And this afternoon I finally realised why. It’s this post.
I started it about a week ago, convinced that I needed to write something profound and enlightening, but also to share this experience before I get back to regular posting on the blog. But the thing is, I just don’t really have anything profound to say. Still, it’s half written already and I’m going to get it finished. So here we go.
Love and loss
The start of this year threw a lot of tough stuff our way. Those of you who follow along may have noticed that mid-way through reviewing shows for Fringe World 2018, the posts stopped and I dropped out of blogging. It’s taken a while, but it’s something I’m ready to get back to.
In February, my boyfriend’s mother died. It was sudden, unexpected and devastating. We dropped everything to fly to Melbourne to say goodbye to her in ICU where she was on life support, spend some time with her partner and sisters, and organise a funeral. While we were still in Victoria, my grandad went into hospital. I thought he would be out in a couple of days; after a couple of days, I truly thought we’d be home in time to see him. But he passed away the night of the funeral in Melbourne. Then just a week after his funeral, my nan lost her long, tiring fight and she passed away too.
Even just typing this is enough to make me need to stop and take a breath.
To say ‘what a month’ just sounds ridiculous – what a month is when you are stressed at work and the car stops working. I still really don’t even have words for everything that happened. It’s something incredibly hard to look back on, because on top of grief there was so much else going on. I was stressed to the core as I tried my best to be there for others. I wasn’t sleeping and I was anxious, in constant flight-or-fight mode with my heart racing. I felt immeasurable guilt at not being able to say goodbye to my grandad. My heart broke for my boyfriend, my dad, my mum. Everything in life felt heavy and hard.
But as clichéd as it sounds, time really does help – it takes the sting out of the pain, although it doesn’t make it any easier to carry.
Family and friends help – by doing the practical things to get you through, by listening, by helping you remember to laugh.
Pets help – their warmth and companionship when you don’t want to leave the house or speak to anyone is invaluable.
Meditating and journaling helps– getting everything out of your head and onto paper is a way of processing, and understanding, everything you’re feeling.
But as I’ve learned this week, there can be times when you think you’re doing OK but it turns out you’re actually not that great. And that’s the only reason I’ve kept writing this – so that if you’re going through something similar, or are having a really rough time, or are struggling with what life is throwing at you – so that you know you’re not alone.
So that you know it’s OK to not be OK. Because the grieving process is something that hardly ever gets talked about, and that can make it even harder to go through.
And to let you know you won’t always feel this way. Because time, and friends, and family, and young children, and pets, and sunshine, and a few glasses of wine, and a good book, and a gripping Netflix show, and meditating, and journaling, and yoga, and watching friends get married, and sleeping in, and hot chocolate, and exercise, and fresh air – they all really do help just a tiny, tiny bit.
And one day those tiny bits will add up, and you’ll start working your way to OK again.
So, thanks for reading this. I know it’s a lot more personal than what I normally share, but it feels good to open up and connect a bit more than my usual posts. And I’d love to hear from you, so DM me or leave a message below, if you wanna chat.