Saturday 20 April 2013

Grief is the deepest lesson

1997 was a perfect year 

If only I'd taken time to stop.  To drink in the simple happiness of being the extremely lucky owner of two beautiful new healthy baby girls.  They were just perfect to me and I was at one level enthralled by what nature had given me; but on another driven, worried and neurotic that I wasn't achieving all I needed in life. I was searching for "happiness", "fulfilment" "the perfect career".  And all the time my personal happiness  was right under my nose.  1997 was a perfect year.  I know that now.

Someone once said "Grief is the deepest lesson - if you choose to learn it"

I wish I'd learnt it earlier.  I wish I hadn't been so busy.  I wish I had spent every single moment breathing in the happiness and fulfilment that two baby girls can give - if you choose to accept it. In my humble opinion if you have your health,  your family (and a means of providing for them) you have everything. 

I'd swop places with you in a heartbeat. 

Chloe was very poorly for a short time before she died. But it was terrifying. I woke every morning rigid with fear about what the next day would bring.  I thought this was the worst that life could conjure up.  Watching your child die, helpless to stop the process, must be against every cell in a Mother's body.  

But I was wrong that wasn't the worst.  Loosing my child is worse.  Selfishly I would want her back unwell; because it's so very hard living without her.  The hole is ENORMOUS, the silence DEAFENING, the pain EXCRUCIATING.   I remember so well the day my beautiful daughter was born; I wish I could forget the day my beautiful daughter died.  I wish I hadn't lived to see this.

It's almost two months since she died and so far the pain has just got worse and worse for me. 

But according to my grief counsellor the pain is essential.  (My grief counsellor is definitely essential for me and I highly recommend a good one).  The theory is you have to really feel the pain before you can feel any better.  If you try and avoid the pain, through work, drink (whoops!), drugs - or any other displacement activities - it just won't get better.  I've heard a number of bereaved parents, many years down the road, saying that it never gets better.

Personally I don't believe this has to be the case.  But I also don't believe that time alone heals this kind of pain.  I think you have to work at it.  I also strongly believe that everybody deals with grief and loss very differently and the trick is finding the best way for you.  

So I turn again to what helps me.  I feel I need a hand at the moment and, so I'm told, it's good to ask for help when you need it.   Top of my list today is a book called "anger" - by Thich Nhat Hanh.  He's a buddhist monk and Nobel Peach Prize nominee.  Described by Martin Luther King as "... he is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity."

He's good. And it turns out part of my pain is caused by a ferocious anger.  It's true I am bloody angry.  How dare God/the universe take this wonderful soul and cause so much pain.  And again the message is simple: get in touch with the anger/the pain - understand it/feel it and only then can you move on.  If you don't you just bury it and it causes all kinds of destruction in your own mind and body and helps to destroy other relationships around you.  I really get that. 

This grief business is really hard work.  But there's that glimpse of hope again.  Maybe if I do the work life will become worth living again and maybe, just maybe, the sadness will turn into some kind of inspiration and life will be different, of course, but just as worthwhile as before.  Maybe, like my US friend and fellow bereaved mother Carol Basso, I'll turn the grief into something really worthwhile   Carol is an inspiration to me.  .  .

Writing this blog helps me to identify where the hope may be found.  I need to capture the pain and the misery - because without this it cannot be an honest account of a grief like this.  This blog is really useful to me, and friends have told me it helps them know what is going on so they can help too.  I have found my dear friends so eager to help; but they are at a loss as what to do.  I guess most of all though I hope that this will help others know that there is a way through grief and loss; even a loss of this magnitude.  I have at times felt so lonely and have gained such solace from other people sharing their loss and feelings.  

I'm going now to hug the three most important people in my life: my daughter Hannah, my grandson Roman and my husband Simon.  Taking that advice - grief can maybe teach us to really really value what is important. 

End of today's lecture :)   Love you Chloe - with all my heart xxxx

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