Grief is the strangest thing. At the time of loss, grief can overwhelm us like a heavy blanket, falling over our being, suffocating us, creating a barrier from the world around us. Gradually, very gradually, the weight lifts, we can see others around us, others who want to be part of our grieving, who want to comfort or empathise or sympathise. And soon, or maybe not so soon, that feeling is no longer our constant companion.
But the strangest part about grief is that you never know when it is around the corner, waiting to come at you like a train, mowing you down with the devastating sadness that you thought you had left behind. Making you sob. Sob like you may never stop.
My Mum died three years ago yesterday. This year, I was wise enough to take the day off work, just in case that old companion, grief, caught me unawares again. It did.
I wonder about the strength of this emotion, that it can make me weep so.
The funny thing is that my Mum used to drive me crazy, as mum’s often do. But, hell’s bells, I loved her so much.
Yes, I know that Mum was old (well, not that old, in my opinion), and that she wasn’t really well. She wasn’t very mobile and had a lot of chronic pain. But those who once said to me ‘at least she’s not in pain anymore’ just don’t understand. That doesn’t make me miss her any the less. And I do miss her, so very much.
While my day yesterday was saturated with tears, I knew that calmness would eventually return. I made myself go out on a pre-arranged date with wonderful girlfriends who didn’t know Mum, who didn’t know it was any sort of anniversary, and who make me laugh and laugh. What good medicine that was.
And next year? It will probably be the same. And the year after that. Grief keeps waiting just around the corner, ready to bowl us over.