I wasn’t familiar with the whole grief thing, I presumed you cried for a bit, got a little sad, maybe lost a bit of weight (like on the break up diet), people tell you how sorry they are (which you don’t understand because it’s not like they gave your mum cancer but then what is the right thing to say?), after a while you quietly miss the person and then life goes on. Well let me tell you, that is not how things work! Oh no, no no no! You think you’re doing just fine and WHAM, out of nowhere, slap to the face and before you know it you’re going all kinds of bat shit crazy! (we’ll get to that in future posts). For now, I thought I’d tell you what grief felt like for me…
Imagine if you will, you’re sitting in a beautiful old English tea room in some forgotten corner of London, delicately sipping at your bone china cup.
Ok fine, you’re in Starbucks drinking lukewarm coffee from a cardboard mug – same thing! When out of nowhere – a smell, a song, a picture, the way someone tilts their head, the back of that ladies head over there, anything and everything and all of a sudden these waves are flooding in from each corner of the room preparing to engulf you.
The next thing you know, you’re floating in the middle of the ocean all alone, gently rising and falling with the waves. Sounds tranquil right? Well no! It would be terrifying to find yourself in the middle of the ocean when you were just one second ago in the middle of a tea room/coffee shop!
You attempt to scream but the wind steals your voice. So you panic. The more you panic the stronger the waves get and you fall and spin and get tangled in your own limbs and you’re scared. Really fucking scared!
Great purple clouds tear apart the sky, it roars and deafens you as white hot electric flashes of anger serge through the cloud’s vein’s. And you thrash and try to fight the sea. Sharks brush your legs whilst horse hooves break over your head. And it’s too much and you can’t cope and flesh is torn from your bones and you’re left exposed and empty.
They took my mums stomach you know? And some of her oesophagus, oh and a chunk of her gullet. Then they stitched her back together and told us she was fine. They lied. The waves took my stomach, they tore straight through me and left nothing inside.
Eventually you get too weak to fight, there is nothing left so you forget how to breath and allow yourself to sink.
It’s eerily peaceful beneath the swell. Tiny bubbles escape, forming silk strings, suspending you like a frozen puppet in murky waters. The storm rages above but you’re safe beneath the surface. There is this strange sort of freedom. It’s ok to stay on the couch watching Disney movies all day, replaying that one song over and over again ‘now I’ve seen the light and it’s like the foggggg hasss lifteddddd’, you can eat the whole pot of Ben and Jerry’s with extra chocolate sauce and whipped cream, it’s acceptable to stay in bed ALL day and who cares if it takes you four days to reply to a text message. None of this matters because you’re broken to your core and that means you can go do anything you want. You’re free and nothing can hurt you any more; you’re unstoppable and you’re going to conquer the world!! Only that all takes effort so instead you play that Disney song again and open another bar of chocolate and sit there cold because getting up for a blanket is too much effort.
Sadly, at some point the ocean spits you back out.
When you finally look up, all around you people are eating biscotti, wiping foam moustaches from their lips, instagramming the misspelt name on their Grande Latte and your friend is still debating which chair cover to choose for her upcoming wedding, completely unaware of the trauma you’ve just sailed through. Those tiny waves ripping across the surface of your drink leaving you more alone than you can ever bear.