Evolving grief


I don’t write too often these days. As time passes I have noticed that the urge to share and write about my experiences have diminished. The feelings however have not certainly. Grief is a life long journey,it’s not something that just goes away with time. It’s hard to exactly translate how loss uncovers itself as days,months and years go by.Many days it stays in the background and then on others days it leaps back with a ferocity that is totally unexpected.

I’m nearing three years since my life changed for ever. Life has continued to change in myriad ways since then. Today I have a brand new life and a family whom I love very much . I’ve continued to move forward with my life while trying to integrate my loss . Sometimes I feel I’m successful and making progress and on other days I feel I’m failing. Either way life goes on regardless.

Recently we celebrated my younger sons ninth birthday.It was his third without his beloved mother. I remember the last birthday we celebrated together.She had just been back from a very high dose chemotherapy treatment and yet she made it a point to celebrate her little boy’s birthday as if nothing had happened.I felt too stressed to celebrate that day and it was certainly difficult to feel happy with all the uncertainties that cancer can bring into your life.

But she was different,her spirit remained untouched by the disease.I remember her laughing,clapping and throughly enjoying her little boys birthday.In the years when all was well,she would plan for months – deciding the venue,shopping for outfits and exploring new cake receipes. I guess this was the highpoint of the year for her. On the birthday she would always take a picture on the exact time of his birth.

The first birthday that we celebrated without her,I tried my best to do everything as she would have liked. It had only been a few months since her passing but I felt I couldn’t let her down.So we celebrated as we had always but without her it felt soulless. However to see our son happy and enjoying with his friends made it all worth it.

The duality of grief can be very difficult to handle. A perfectly happy occasion sometimes has grey hues underlining it. It’s a new normal that I have learnt to accept. I feel the pain everyday at realising she is missing out on his growing years and so much else.So many milestones and occasions and she’s not around to experience it.

I guess this is the greatest challenge for people who have undergone deep loss – integrating the loss into life that goes on and living with that bottomless void each day. I hear a lot of ‘everyone’s life is difficult ‘ and that is true but other life challenges don’t even measure up to the endurance that is required to go on in the face of loss of the most important person in your life.

The thoughts that she’s already missed out on so much is unnerving to me. I don’t know how it will feel to have the years go by. I look at pictures of people who celebrate their anniversaries every year, I marvel at the years they have accumulated together. And I’m constantly reminded of what I have lost. I got twelve years and they will stay with me forever. I just didn’t think it will be over so soon when we were looking forward to life so much.

And yet,life goes on..