Now, Want and Able are two different things
One is desire, and the other is the means
Like I wanna hold you, and see you, and feel you in my dreams
But that’s not possible, something simply will not let me
Everyone tells me, “He died knowing he was loved.”
I reply, “But he didn’t. He didn’t know anything…”
My son softly says, “I think that’s better, mum…”
“I want him back but can’t have him. I’d like her to care but she can’t. I have to move forward and I will. Because he would want that, and that is the closest to having him back I will ever get.”
“Gabe’s a practitioner of perpetual motion – move forward at a steady pace: don’t stop or you’ll fall – kind of guy; whereas Harry only puts one foot forward if he’s absolutely, positively certain that it’s the right foot and the right direction. I’m a bit like that myself… What you should take from this is that we’re all moving forward; at varying speeds.”
Just to get things off my chest; here we go.
Firstly, I am not brave. I mean, I’m quite brave but not as brave as you all seem to think.
Brave adj. Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
‘Ready’? I’m not ready! I had 16 months to prepare, am almost 4 months in and I am still not bloody ready. I was thrown in to this ocean of grief and, really, when landed with a choice of ‘sink or swim’ what would you do?
By making that decision to battle through the waves, I am merely making the decision to survive. But for every frantic swim forwards, there’s the inevitable need to be still and tread water; the moments where the amount of tears that flow from my eyes, become the salty ocean. It’s during these moments that my head feels heavy, as if I could just close my eyes and let it sink beneath the grief. Is it brave to not give in to that emotion? I suppose it does show a certain amount of courage. So why do people label suicides as cowards when all they really are is lacking a little bravery?
Secondly, I will never NOT be alright when you ask me. Why? Because if I wasn’t alright, you wouldn’t see me; I wouldn’t answer the phone. For some women it’s make-up – never leave home without it, for me it’s vulnerability. Only two people call my home phone, (actually, only one now) so I know who’s on the other end and if I’m drowning in my tears or reminiscing with myself I simply let it ring. You’d assume I was out and never check because, let’s face it, you don’t really want to know. If you did you would be on my doorstep; catching the tears on your shoulder.
Finally, not all grief is the same. Most people know this and completely understand the complexities of relationships and their bearing on emotions after losing someone. I can give you an example if you like:
In 2001 I lost my brother in a tragic accident. We were all left shocked and devastated by the utter surprise of it all. Four years later, talking to a friend, we realised we had both lost a brother. But due to differences in our sibling relationships, our grieving process was completely at odds with each other. Ten years on, we were both in the same place of acceptance and forgiveness; our grief having run it’s course, I guess.
So if, when comparing like for like, grief can be so incredibly varied, why do people feel that they ‘know’ how I feel because they’ve lost someone too? They don’t, they can’t. How can they know exactly what I’ve lost when they don’t know exactly what I had? In the same way that I don’t know exactly what they’ve lost. I mean, I lost my grandma but we really didn’t have much of a relationship so my grief was minimal. I have another friend though, who’s nana is her world… you see where I’m going with this?
Basically, grief is massively personal; you owe nobody an explanation as to your feelings or emotions and you aren’t owed one in return.
My bravery is transient; it depends on you all, with your wet shoulders and understanding words. Without you, I would’ve disappeared under an ocean of tears – you are my Braves.
When you see me, I am fine. It’s when you don’t that you need to worry so, to that end, I will always endeavour to communicate somehow; be it Facebook, WhatsApp or my WordPress. I probably won’t ring you though – I just don’t do that.
Though my grief be all-consuming, I am learning to make space for others. I am starting to notice the hurt and pain that loved ones are enduring and have begun to build pathways for them to access that part of my heart not broken. It dawned on me, just today, that if there were 100 people at Nigel’s funeral, then that’s 100 people hurting at some point… If you need to talk, I am here.
“I don’t know what to say, do or be. You were my everything – more than that – you were you.
I’m so good at boxes or compartments, places for people and experiences, for heartache and love. My head is full of them; there’s one for my childhood, firmly closed. One for my adolescence, closed but not locked, like a love-sick diary. My mum has a box that is continually being added to and Ben. Ben has a box which was locked before I even attempted to go through the contents. What a mess. You, Nige, you are not in a box. I couldn’t bear that. I decided a year ago that you wouldn’t be archived but you would stay as an open book by the side of our bed. I decided that I would embrace this tragic experience of ours and feel every second, not skip the painful bits and shut them away. I did this because to do so honours you and improves me.”
“I can only imagine how you feel…”
“Well, I don’t want to sound, you know, but I had 16 months to imagine how I’d feel and, honestly? I wasn’t even close.”