“Grief is like being ill when you’re not ill” B.Blagg 2019
I know you’re always on shaky ground when you quote yourself, but I’ve Googled it and no-one else seems to have said it, so I’m claiming it for my own.
I used it recently as I tried to explain to a friend I’d not seen in a long time, exactly why I looked and sounded like I did. He seemed surprised; as if rebuilding a life without the person you love would somehow be, if not easy, at least something you should embrace and try to hurdle. Apparently I ‘look well’ and should therefore have a bit more pizzazz about me, but nothing is guaranteed to get me more angry than someone asking me if I’ve ‘come to terms with things yet’
As the first anniversary of Gail’s passing approaches – a passage of time I can barely contemplate – a friend who also lost her husband a year ago said something more profound “Bereavement bends time. A year goes in a flash but it feels like a hundred years since you saw each other last”
That’s so true and it does.
I thought one of the best ways to sum up grief as I’m currently experiencing it is to demonstrate it in the form of a fictitious conversation, made up of part conversations I have had elsewhere, one that could quite easily take place in reality. It goes like this:
“You’re looking well, I hear you went to the Amalfi Coast? Sorrento, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri? Sounds fantastic”
“Yes, It was it was a wonderful week”
“And didn’t you go to Hong Kong earlier this year? And you’re going to Madeira next month? You’re certainly getting around! And how was the Grand Prix?”
“It was a good experience thanks. Yes, I’m trying to get out a bit more; get to the cinema, the theatre, some summer outdoor gigs
“Well, that’ll be why you look so well, you’re nicely tanned. You look healthy”
“Yes, my health is pretty good. No major issues”
“SO great, life is pretty good for you then!”
“No, it’s shit”
“Eh? I though you’d done all these things and seen these places and things are getting better, you’re moving on. Of course, you still miss Gail but she wouldn’t want you to be miserable….” And so on
Now, apart from the highly-amusing thought that Gail would, most certainly want me to be miserable without her – I think she’d be livid to see me enjoying myself and pretty much told me as much during past conversations (You’d need a deep insight into our relationship to fully understand the part-humour, part seriousness behind that), you’re still stuck with the realisation that, not unnaturally, for everyone else things have moved on and you’re just lurking there like a spectre at the feast, clinging on to something you can never get back.
The fact is though I haven’t moved on and I don’t really see why I should or how I can. Because for all the things I’ve done since Gail left, all the things I’ve seen and tried to partake in, nothing compares to doing them either with Gail or, as would often happen, without her, but still knowing I’d be returning to her after I’d done whatever it was I felt the need to do.
Most nights though I just ache to just sit on the sofa with a TV show on I don’t want to watch, massaging Gail’s gorgeous feet and listening to her voice. Nothing more. Because for all the things you can see and do in this world, its doing the small things with the one you love that makes the rest special.
And time doesn’t help that.