At the risk of sounding melodramatic I named my first post ‘Grief Plunge’ and drafted it on 26th November 2015, 23 months to the day after my other half died; my soul mate and husband of 29 years. More of my story later, but initially I wanted to introduce you to my first blog. The Collins Dictionary definition of ‘grief‘ is: ‘deep sorrow’, described as ‘painful’ and ‘plunge‘ is defined as: ‘ to enter, to dive, to descend very suddenly’.
Hello, Dear Reader and thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Sue ‘Suz’. I hope you will identify with the grieving process as described below, or if not, recognise someone who is struggling, going through a tough time. I encourage you to help, talk to and support your grieving relatives and friends. A wise person once said to me ‘don’t judge people, understand them!’ This challenged me to the core of my being when in my 20’s, helped shape me and continues to prompt and channel my thoughts. (Back to my story and the post Christmas events that unfolded for me and my family …)
From the time of making that 999 call, seeing the paramedic arrive, watching my beloved slip away from this life, hearing the tragic news that it’s final – no hope of recovery; a numbness took control. It was an initial plunge into grief.
Life goes on. You have to cope. After the funeral arrangements you’re back at work, back to the routine of daily life. Then, suddenly its stark reality that there is a world out there that’s been continuing as if oblivious of the fact that the person you’ve loved and lost ever existed! How could they? How dare they! Another plunge as the grieving being comes to terms with another person’s perception of how we are supposed to grieve. A tough one … Is there a right or wrong way to grieve?
This continuation of life at speed, in the ‘fast lane’ makes little allowance and provides minimum cushioning in order for the grieving person to take their time to grieve. Pausing to consider, I can only imagine the challenges faced by adults with children and teenagers trapped in the grieving bubble. (Big hugs, Dear Reader, if you ever find / have found yourself in such a place), balancing , juggling and struggling to find coping mechanisms that will see you through each day – one day at a time.
So then the journey continues. It’s personal. It’s individual this grief. Each time there is a grief plunge I firmly believe physical symptoms exist, like the numbness, the racing heart beat when desperately trying to justify or explain your situation to the watching world. There have been countless times in this process over the last almost two years that I’ve experienced pain in my heart. My heart has been damaged / torn, surely?
After losing MY Fred ‘George’ there was a sense of being torn in half, a dramatic change of identity – from married mum to widowed mum in a split second of time. Widow? The word in itself brought to mind connotations of a black spider. Following this realisation brought with it another plunge into grief, uncontrollable sobs and profound sorrow, a feeling of being alone. Decisions, conversations and a future ahead on my own? It was at this point that my gaze turned heavenward. Of course, In the English Standard Version of the Bible Psalm 121 :1 encourages us that ‘I (WILL) lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.’ There is hope then, I encourage myself, that death is not the end. Released then from the sting of death I find a reprieve, my spirit is lifted and I can live again. In the midst of this day to day battle to cope there is an echo: ‘Wow, you’re doing so well!’ ‘You’re doing good!’ Perhaps the fact that having to ‘do the 9 to 5 routine’ like clockwork from Monday to Friday keeps one from grieving – I observe, my perception. So grief, can be put on hold, perhaps?
My next plunge was while on holiday with friends, three months after George died. We were in the lovely Norfolk Broads, staying in a restored barn soaking in the March sunshine and enjoying the water and wildlife. It was a treat. True friends had shown a tremendous amount of compassion and desire to share their holiday with me. Wow! It all happened quite unexpectedly, a couple of days into our week away, while sitting at a coffee shop, sipping and chatting, sunglasses on … out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a couple walking along the river’s edge. They were elderly, looking lovingly at one another they appeared to have not one iota of care on their shoulders. Perhaps it was the man’s walking stick that struck me, reminded me of my own husband, his disability and struggle with osteoarthritis.
Then, shocked with the harsh reality that the opportunity ‘to grow old’ with my soul mate was no longer an option I plunged – How cruel life had become!! He had died at the age of 56. Moving on swiftly, the highlight of our trip was a boat trip on The Broads. Unable to snap out of this self pity party, the plunge continued as every person on this trip appeared retired and enjoying life! Why shouldn’t they?
EACH FIRST, the first anniversary of a friend, soul mate, lover, uncle, brother, dad’s death survived. Birthdays, a wedding, a wedding anniversary come & gone … So now, 22 months since his death and a baby is born – life enters this world of grief. Unexpectedly, another grief plunge! Sadly, George never got to meet his first grandchild and perhaps this fact is what has saddened me. Pulling out the photographs and reminiscing of holidays, days out and happy memories inspires the beginning of the processing … embracing grief.
Love the film Annie and the song, which I quote now:
“The sun will come out tomorrow
So you got to hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow
You’re only a day away
Tomorrow, tomorrow I love ya tomorrow
You’re only a day away …”
Thank you Dear Reader, for listening. Be encouraged. Be hopeful. The sun will come out tomorrow
Photo by Brandon Brown – Unsplash.com