Aboard the grief train

Grief is like a moving train that yields no time to stop, it hurtles through constantly crashing and shattering itself into pieces, pieces that can never be repaired as many get lost along the way. How do we cope with grief? The answer is somehow we do, we get by, we survive. Most things in life present us with options, death is so final we run out of options, there is no solution, no remedy, no ease of suffering. Grief is raw and cuts to your core, it possesses you and takes you hostage encompassing all that you are and it steals the future you intended to have.

Grief is complex, it knows many faces, it manifests a multitude of feelings, new, uncomfortable ones that take your breath away. Feelings that can be so dark even you struggle to comprehend what they mean. I know first hand these emotions, I have felt every one. I am no stranger to grief, the enemy we all fear. Grief, when experienced within the boundaries of a ‘normal’ relationship, is hard enough, it is an ever evolving range of emotions changing by the day, helplessness to pain, anger and fear to name but a few but what about grief when the relationship itself is one that is far from straightforward, if you are estranged and many words have been left unsaid, maybe the last word you uttered was a scathing one, one you can never take away.

I lost both my parents within a few years of each other, they were not together, they were both alone, alone in heart and alone in spirit. One was taken by a devastating illness, I had the chance to say goodbye. The other contributed to their own demise and left when so many words were still left unspoken. How do we get over something like this? I still question that, there is a point that you have to let go and move on, the problem is there is no manual or self-help book that helps you to do this. Grief is personal to you, it is something that many of us choose not to share with others. The pain makes us reclusive and has the ability to freeze our hearts if we let it. I was told of my mother’s passing by a policeman, that is one way to have such news broken to you, by a complete stranger who cares not for the life that has left or for the people left behind. I still remember that doorbell, that moment like it was yesterday, that doorbell haunted me for a long time after.

I tried to have no emotions for this person who had brought me a lifetime of pain. I tried to avoid being a passenger on the grief train but I was snatched before I had the chance to protest. I journeyed for a long time aboard unsure of anything least not what I felt. One overriding emotion I was sure of was anger, anger for the complete torrent she had left behind while those who remained were left to pick up the pieces. It was difficult to feel sadness at the beginning, what had I lost? If you have never had something in the first place how can we feel aggrieved to lose it, the person I had loved had died a long time ago.  I had spent many years grieving for the loss of that relationship which had been sabotaged by her life choices. We had not spoken for 5 years and even then that was not a conversation bred out of love, it was one undertaken with the same curt mannerisms erected by the barriers surrounding her, thorny, prickly barriers that were unbreakable. They were the last words spoken, the chance to rectify them was not given.

It affected me, I would be lying if I said it didn’t, only now through the power of hindsight do I realise that I am too late to do anything about it. I am not sure given the circumstances that there would have ever been enough hours in a thousand lifetimes that would have made a difference, enough words to ensure that we could mend our broken relationship, some things are past mending and are fractured forever. That would sum us up to a tee. That however does not mean that I did not feel the loss, that I did not feel that girl I was all those years ago who longed for her mother, the girl who lived to brush her hair and make her cups of tea, the girl who wanted to be just like her and whose face mirrored her mother’s, the girl who spent many hours waiting at the window for her to come back for me, alas she never did so that girl had to grow up, that girl had to rely on herself.

My coping mechanism was to try and forget, grief does not allow such a thing, it ensured my mind was an abundance of memories, mostly highlighted at inappropriate times, it brought a lot of darkness and despair, a haze I could not shake. I refused to look at any photographs, it hurt too much, I yearned to go back to the way it was before when I was oblivious to her and her to me. Strangers apart yet connected somehow.  Time is a healer so we are told, this may sound like a cliche but time is your friend. They say death is the end, I say it is the beginning, the beginning of a new relationship with my mother, one that has allowed me to find that person I loved again. I see her smiling up at me from the picture she resides in next to my dad and I know everything is going to be ok.  I have been given the chance to remember the good, the bad does not matter anymore, it became insignificant in the end as everything does. This post is dedicated for all who have loved someone and lost them yet they have been able to find parts of them they never thought they would see again. Love never dies….


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