I wrote these scattered thoughts over the last six months. It’s not a real post. There aren’t any grand conclusions. But this was how I felt as I struggled through the mourning process for my best friend. I publish these in the hope that somebody out there might go – ‘Me too’ and I’ll feel less alone.
The title of this post makes me feel like a scientist as opposed to the constantly crying person who regards any task (brushing my hair, washing, leaving the house) with an bone-deep exhaustion.
I’m not OK. Why was I expecting to be OK? Because I always have been. I have always coped and pushed the pain somewhere to be dealt with later. But those were rivers of pain and this in the sea. I cannot contain it. I have to sit in the pain and being not OK for as long as it takes and it is horrible.
Grief is unpredictable. Look at me I think acting like nothing has happened. When I feel like a walking bruise. Like a bombed house during the Blitz, the walls are still intact but inside there is desolation.
There are good days and bad days. On good days I forget and it is blissful until I feel the nagging like a sore tooth. She’s gone and nothing and nobody will bring her back. On bad days I feel like the waves have dragged me under and I linger on the sea bed. Everything is muffled and dimmed, and nothing and nobody can reach me.
People try and help by offering platitudes. ‘She’s with the angels now.’ Well, why don’t we ask the fucking angels to give her back? Oh we can’t… is that because they are imaginary. ‘Celebrate her life don’t mourn her death.’ Are the two mutually exclusive? Can I not do both. ‘Lianne wouldn’t want you to feel this way.’OK, let’s take these in term. 1) Lianne is dead so we can never know what she would want. 2) Even so knowing her as I do, for the accepting loving individual she was she would want me to feel what I feel. 3) Finally and most importantly, it’s not about her anymore. It’s about me mourning the loss of my best friend the only way I can.
Somedays you will recognise that people say these things because they love you and that they do not want to see you in pain. Somedays the unwarranted advice will make you want to punch them in their fucking face. Don’t do that.
Empathy helps. In my experience it is the only thing that does. I remember sitting in my first counselling session talking about Lianne’s death and I said ‘I feel like I’m going mad. What’s wrong with me?’ And my therapist, god bless her said, ‘Your best friend has just died. Of course you feel awful. There is nothing wrong with you.’ I would have wept with relief if I hadn’t been weeping anyway.
Get a therapist.
There is no right way to grieve. Everybody grieves in their own way. And the way I do this is not the way other people have done this. That’s OK.
Grief is not linear, it’s not stages. Now months on I feel like I am moving out of the process but anything could pull me back under. I still miss her. I don’t think I’ll ever not.
Perception is all. The day of Lianne’s funeral was one of the most beautiful days of the summer. The sun shone so hard and the sky was so blue it almost hurt my eyes. But inside all I could feel was the crack as my heart broke into pieces. I expected the world to have changed, that there to be some outside sign that Lianne was missing. That’s the both simultaneously wonderful/cruel thing about grief the world keeps turning just the same. Only you have changed.
You get a free pass. Use it. Grieving allowed me to duck out of social arrangements, reinforce personal boundaries, wear random clothes, and lie in my bed eating cake for breakfast.
I have officially become the person that cries in my therapists reception room. Personal achievement unlocked!
It hurts. I didn’t know how much grief would hurt. But I know it wouldn’t hurt so much if I hadn’t loved her.
I can no longer watch Steel Magnolias or Beaches, especially fucking Beaches. Turning on the radio has been like playing Russian roulette damn you Queen and Lady Gaga. There is no logic to what shatters my composure.
This is one of the most beautiful letters I have read about grief. In particular I loved this quote:
Fate can’t have any more arrows in its quiver for you that will wound like these. Who was it said that it was astounding how deepest griefs can change in time to a sort of joy? The golden bowl is broken indeed but it was golden; nothing can ever take those boys away from you now.
This letter is also a lie, a kind lie from a place of love but a lie. Nobody can ever take Lianne away from me. She lived, she loved and she was golden however briefly she shone. And the fact that she is no longer here cannot take that away. But I do not believe fate’s arrow is empty for me. When somebody dies the veil is ruptured between worlds and you stare into the void, knowing that this is the first. If I am lucky and live a long and healthy life I will lose more people I love or be buried by them. This is the first blow. There will be others.
sorrow passes and we remain. Whether we want to or not.