I know that grief is not linear.
There is no timeline.
Everyone’s grief is unique.
There will be triggers throughout your life.
Everything you feel is perfectly normal.
It is not an illness which needs to be cured.
You have been forever changed by your loss.
You will grow around your grief.
You will learn to live with it.
It’s all true, and I have lived with my grief for more than 10 years. So why, oh why, was I so taken off guard last week when I watched my daughter’s Grade 12 graduation? It wasn’t even a live celebration (thanks Covid), just a video recording involving many minutes of speeches followed by images of the smiling graduates with their credits listed below. Savannah and her 3 besties all dressed up for the occasion, and we watched it together at her friend’s place.
I was SO PROUD of her, and it suddenly hit me that her dad should have been there to see it. But of course he wasn’t. I would have given anything to see the pride in his face. Suddenly, it just seemed so desperately unfair that both my kids were so heart-breakingly young when they lost their dad. Their lives would have been so different if he had lived….
So where did all my grief-training get me? Well, it didn’t prevent me from having a full, ugly-crying breakdown when I got home ( I did manage NOT to spoil Savannah’s night) I guess understanding it on a rational level is quite different from experiencing it on a personal level, but I was still SHOCKED at the depth of my sadness.
For those of you who don’t know me, I got remarried almost 2 years ago to a wonderful man, but in this case, he was not the person who was able to comfort me. My son (Oliver, 19) is home from university and, when I appeared at the top of his attic stairs in a soggy mess, he just gathered me up. I found myself apologising to him that his dad couldn’t be with us ( We Brits like to apologise for everything. I mean, everything).
Oliver said, very simply, “It’s okay, Mum. I think we have a pretty good life.”
We do have a good life, and I am forever grateful for the incredible human beings who are my children.
Gratitude is something I consciously practise on a daily basis, but sometimes I still need reminding. Thank you, Oliver x
If you are living in grief and could use some support, please reach out. I would be honoured to help you.