I’ve been hugely lucky to have two soulmate-girl friends in my life. One of these gorgeous women died on the 26thDecember 2014 at the age of 53 and last week was her birthday. She was my partner in crime. She was kind, witty, full of life and a dull round of golf was always a total joy when we were together!
The day of her birthday it was a wet, foggy, grey looking day but I trudged to the trig point with the dog; which was the place her ashes were scattered. I walk this route regularly and always when I get to the top, I feel close to her and so sad that she’s not around. On sunny days you get a gorgeous 360 degree view of Yorkshire moors. But on this day, there wasn’t a view and I felt very much alone with her. Just me and her….and my grief and the tears came….
One of the last times that I saw her, she said ‘you won’t forget me, will you?’ It was a tough moment. But we also laughed! Whenever we said goodbye we’d fallen into the habit of shouting as we parted ‘I’ll never forget you Daphne!’ in the voice of a character from Brief Encounter. People thought we were weird; but that never bothered me or her!!!
There’s often a sense with grief that, as time passes you ‘should’ get over things and move on. That somehow, it’s not normal to cry or get upset. There isn’t a ‘normal’ way of grieving, it’s about finding your own way through the pain and the sadness that is left behind when someone you love dearly dies. It feels normal and real for me, to feel sadness on her birthday, or the anniversary of her death, or moments triggered by something I’ve seen or heard that’s a vivid reminder of her. The huge sadness I feel is testament to how much I loved her, and how much I know she loved me.
Repressed or unexpressed emotions aren’t helpful mentally or physically. When someone dies the grief and the sadness feels overwhelming and all consuming, it fills all the space we have and we can’t see past or around it. It’s part of us, and something that will always be there – part of us that will always feel sad at the loss. What I have noticed, is that with time, your life expands around the sense of loss and sadness, and whilst it is still there it’s not ALWAYS taking centre stage. It comes into focus in key moments – and part of the processing, is to enable this to happen. Give it the attention it needs so that it can go back into the background for now.
Loss is part of life and it’s a messy affair. When someone we love dies, we’re often not only dealing with the hole that the person leaves but the knock-on effects of the person passing. A whole host of emotions can emerge and often the loss connects to other strands of our lives. It can bring up stuff from our pasts. Concerns about our own future and regrets around ‘if only I’d…’
What I am learning is to be kinder to myself, when I notice the sadness ‘knocking on the door.’ I’m going to let it in, accept it and welcome it knowing that just like a good dinner guest, it will know when to leave!! And when it leaves, I’m going to wave it goodbye and shout back ‘I’ll never forget you Daphne!’
To anyone out there dealing with loss and sadness and bereavement, please feel free to get in touch…it’s good to talk!!
#gillparkininsights #bereavement #loss #coaching