Mind the Baby, grieving, www.mindthebaby.ie


Mind the Baby, grieving, www.mindthebaby.ie
photo credit: myDays / S.Lee via photopin cc

My friend is hurting.

Her mother has just passed away and there is a huge, matriarch-shaped hole in her family’s life that aches and bleeds. The epicentre of a happy, loving family has left this world and those in orbit around her are struggling to keep on course now that their sun is gone. My heart goes out to her and to them.

There is nothing in this world like the pain of losing a loved one. It physically grips you and takes your breathe away. You can feel it burning in your chest, your eyes, your head. Even for those who knew is was coming, it is still a shock because suddenly they’re just not here.

When the funeral ends, the hoards of mourners leave the house with the empty tubberware and lasagne dishes, and silence descends, it is only then that the earth-shattering, momentuousness of the reality of their death wallops you like a blow to the chest. Nothing will ever be the same again. You think it’ll be the silent moments that will catch you off-guard but its the unexpected things like that song on the radio when you’re stuck in traffic or when a letter addressed to them arrives many months later. That’s when the tears spill out and the body-wracking sobs catch you by surprise.

The finality of it all is crushing. Death is the only thing in life that has such a permanence to it. Even though your head turns every time the door opens, they’ll never walk through it. You’ll never bump into them by chance on the other side of the world in decades time. No one will shake you from your sleep to say “wake up, it was just a terrible dream”, no matter how much you wish they would.

You just want someone to come and save you, to wrap their arms around you and tell you everything is going to be alright. The heartbreaking part of it is of course, the person you think you want to do this the most, is the one who can’t be with you any more. And it hurts.

You want time to stand still, because every minute that passes means one more minute they’re left behind as time drags you forward into the future, even though you dig your heels in. Every day that passes means that others think it’s getting easier and soon they won’t have to ask you how you’re doing any more and we can all just get on with our lives. But it doesn’t get easier, or better, or less painful. It’s just different.

You’re afraid you’ll forget things. How they smell. What a hug felt like in their arms. Those little snatches of special moments that seemed so ordinary at the time but now you cling to them, trying to hold on, like grains of sand slipping through your fingers.

Those first few months are an altered state. It’s like you’re on the inside looking out, watching the world carry on and trying to figure out why it hasn’t stopped and fallen to its knees like you have. You wonder how you haven’t died yourself because the pain is just unbearable, but somehow you keep going. Because you have no choice. One foot in front of the other. And that’s how it goes. People tell you you’re so strong, you’re so brave, they don’t know how they’d cope. But they would, because they have to.

No matter how many people you think understand – because they’ve been through something similar before, or they’re experiencing the same loss as you right now this very minute – no one understands your loss. No one else had the unique relationship that you had. No one else was privy to your true feelings for that person. No one else has your memories, your feelings, those special moments you hold close in your heart.

Grief is a lonely, long road. When it’s all so fresh and raw and you feel like you’re shivering and wet, it’s hard to imagine that road widening and flattening out but it does. You’ll get there. You mightn’t want to. But you’ll get there in the end.




23 thoughts on “Grieving”

  1. The poor love, it’s such an awful raw feeling in the beginning, however long the beginning goes on for you. Your description is truthful but still comforting. Lil lump in my throat now!

    1. Had a lil lump writing it. I think you recognise it others and empathise for the rest of your life really. It’s not a particularly nice club to be in.

      You’re very right about “the beginning” – its definitely a stage of various lengths for different people.

  2. What a beautifully written post. I was recently at a funeral for a family member and witnessed that raw grief you write of. It was so visible in her children that I almost couldn’t bear to look at them, and when I hugged them, I didn’t want to let go. My heart goes out to your friend.

    1. Thanks Sadhbh. Yes, there’s such a physical need to reach out too, isn’t there? It’s like an automatic reaction to envelope them with comfort.

  3. Your friend is lucky to have you to be there for her.

    We lost my mother-in-law suddenly two years ago, and it was like that for her family. Her absence is still such a void.

  4. Such a beautifully written post about a difficult topic – I lost my mum when I was 22 and still can’t talk about it. It would have helped me greatly to read something like this at the time.

  5. I can connect 100% after the week I’ve had. A family of a young boy are grieving as I type. What is their future? We are all still so very very sad.
    I am so sorry for your friend. I lost my dad over 26 years ago and i still grieve for him most days at some stage. No longer with tears but still with sadness and regret. Great post. Well done.

      1. Thanks. We need all the prayers and thoughts people are offering. The news today was very challenging. It is comforting for his family to know others are thinking of him.

  6. Really beautiful post thank you – I lost my Dad nearly 20 years ago and thankfully the pain is raw now but I remember the grief so well. Only for my fantastic supportive boyfriend (now husband) and his family I’m not sure How I would have managed. Nowadays I actually like when I shed some tears over my Dad as life is so busy I sometimes forget him. In the last 12 months 2 of my best friends have lost their mothers (one of them on St Steohens Day so Christmas will be especially hard this year). Going to pass this on for them to read xxx

    1. I like the tears now too. It’s like a small moment to be back there and remember what a huge part of your life they were.

  7. Really beautifully written! I lost my lovely Dad suddenly 2 months ago, but that post says it all, so much so i’ll be showing it to my poor Mam who lost her best friend!

    1. So sorry to hear that Claire, it’s such a difficult time. Hope it brings some comfort to your mum. My deepest sympathies to you both x

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