It’s an awful feeling having to return to life after something traumatic has happened. The lack of fanfare following the death of someone you love is unsettling. Walking from a room containing the body of a loved one into the sunshine feels so wrong. It feels like the world should pause for a minute. That there should at least be some clouds or weather that reflects your great sadness. That something significant should occur to acknowledge the loss you have just experienced.
But it’s not like that. Life keeps going. Beautiful days happen. Friends fall in love. There’s a new boss at work. A new season of the Bachelor starts. Life just keeps going, steamrolling over the top of the grief.
A week after my Mum had died we had the funeral. After that we sorted out the house as much as possible. Two weeks later I was back home. Then I was back at work. People around me were aware of my pain, but they were not a part of it. I felt isolated in my grief. Even my siblings who I shared this loss with were not part of my pain. We are connected by our grief, but we all must walk through the shadows alone.
There have been days that I have sat at my work desk and quietly cried for my Mum. There’s been no obvious trigger, just this unexpected sadness that washes over me. I’ve also had it while driving, shopping and just doing the mundane. Having a one-year old means that it’s easy to remain distracted. But even then, there are times while playing with my daughter the sadness comes.
That’s why I’ve been silent on here. It’s easier to sit in silence and ignore what is happening in my head. Rather than engage with the feelings I shut it out. I can get on with life that way. Behave in a way that puts others at ease. The quickest way to alienate people is to show them your pain. Almost no one knows what to do with it.
For me, writing requires vulnerability and bravery. Vulnerability to write something honest. Bravery to share that with people. It's hard to be vulnerable when I'm hurting, and it's almost impossible to be brave when all my energy has been spent on getting through the day.
After my father’s death I fell apart. I shut down. By pushing the emotions under I prolonged the time it took to heal. This time I want it to be different. I need it to be different. I can't go through that again. So as scary as it is I'm going to do my best to be vulnerable and engage with my emotions. I’m going to muster the energy needed to be brave. I'm going to write about this so that at least for a moment there will be acknowledgement that something significant has happened, that my world changed forever back on that day in May.