There was an initial phase of grief in which I was cocooned from the world. I could cry whenever my eyes welled up, curl up wherever my limbs started to curl. In that phase I wore Matthew’s clothes and spent time with his body. My own body was in shock. A small core of people fed me and took me for walks and organised to get Matthew home.
The first opening up came when we held the funeral. That was a shift from five people around me to fifty. The sense of love was enormous. The grief was different too. I swung between numbness and a despair that came with wailing. But I had more control than in the first few days.
Exactly a month after Matthew died I went back to work. I have cried in the office, but only once or twice. Mostly I’m not consciously holding back tears. Mostly working is a distraction. I do not forget for a moment that Matthew is dead, but there are other questions pulling at my brain as well. I’ve been in the office more than my doctor wanted, so that I didn’t have to be on my own.
Now at nearly ten weeks there is an underlying sadness to everything I do, but I’m largely back in my old weekday routines. That is, I am capable of turning up in person everywhere I am meant to turn up. Except in therapy sessions the wailing has gone. Instead the physicality is back. I’m feeling sudden grasps of my breath when I think I’m going to die and a physical pain in my chest as though my heart has stopped.
It’s the memorial service on Monday. The orders of service have gone to print. I don’t know who will be able to make it, or how I will feel. I do know that somehow we’ll get through.