I’m musing – stay with me – about big grief and its progression over time, given that last weekend marked two-and-a-half years since Matthew’s death. Three things that are top of mind:
I’m just about starting to realise that I am no longer part of a marriage and partnership with another person. Rationally, of course, I have known that from the start, but deeper parts of my psyche are only just starting not to be constantly surprised by it – it’s taken that long for the new neural networks to begin to form.
The waves of grief, of the full body sobbing not just the crying kind, still come. When they do they still put me physically on the ground. (The softer crying kind also still come every couple of days, sometimes very briefly, and sometimes for an hour or more at a time.)
My strength for normal life is nothing like what it was. I need to sleep for nine hours a night, and often lie down for multiple hours during the day. Almost anything I do requires rest afterwards. It’s as though I have suddenly and dramatically aged. (My first white hairs have appeared as well.)
It’s the way it is, but all of that still surprises me. Some days I try to deny it. Other, wiser, days I try to accept and work within it, whilst hoping it will improve over time.
I have plentiful and excellent therapeutic support, and I’m making progress – I’m not asking anyone to worry about me.
Instead I’m sharing this because until all of this happened to me I had absolutely no idea what big grief does. I’m guessing most of you don’t know either.
I would guess that I used to think it was mostly about sadness and that that sadness would decline slowly over time. If you’d asked me, I’d probably have hypothesised it would be manageable after a couple of years. I had no idea that it’s so physical, so difficult for the brain to absorb, or that it lasts at this intensity for so long.
I wish, for various reasons, that I had known more what it’s actually like, and I thought some of you might be interested to know as well
Anyway, as a trailer for those who have read this far, there will be a book on exactly this subject in due course, I hope – not the current book-in-progress but the one after that. And on the current book I am – right here, right now – declaring victory over the process of completing a first draft. Now the revisions start.
Final point: I skied last weekend. We had a good time.