Posted in Daily life

The Inability to Define Grief

I thought that watching a 6 year old girl die from a brain tumour would be the yardstick for any future grief.  That nothing could hurt more than watching my brother’s heart shatter with the enormity of his daughter’s loss.  I saw my parents age through a pain that was almost visible in its intensity.  From diagnosis to death, we watched a vibrant beautiful child suffer beyond what we might have been able to bear ourselves.  And there was nothing we could do but just be there and watch hopelessly.  But I was wrong about this being the yardstick.  Losing my niece has in no way insulated me from future grief. I feel that just as keenly.  It is different depending on the age of the person and our relationship but it is in no way lessened with the pain already absorbed.

I am thinking of grief at them moment because the woman that I have often thought of as a grandmother is dying.  She is declining treatment, choosing to die naturally (as she put it).  She has reached the incredible age of 103 but that in no way mitigates the pain that this time is causing me and all those who love her. She was my grandmother’s best friend, we lost Nana Conway in 1999 and in many ways Auntie Dorrie (Auntie is a term of endearment and respect in my family) became the revered elder in her place.  There is no blood ties between us but there is am amazing emotional connection.

I have chosen not to go to the hospital and see Auntie Dorrie in the last days of her life, in part because I just can not bear to see her like that,  I have watched too many people die and just haven’t the strength to do so at the moment.  Will I regret this?  I am not sure but I think not.  Going to see her, to say goodbye and to tell her how much she means to me seems more for me than for her.  Let her immediate family have the time they need.  I believe that she knows what she means to me and how much I love her, I don’t need to say it now.

Auntie Dorrie has kept my grandmother’s memory more alive than would have occurred without her stories about their youthful shenanigans.  I learned about life in the time they grew up and stories about my mother as a child.  Auntie Dorrie has a phenomenal memory and she infused the stories with the emotion from living them.  I have loved sitting in her flat and listening to her share her memories.  She is one of the most amazing people I am privileged to know and one of my most favourite people.

I know her daughter will ask me to speak at the funeral and normally I would put aside my grief and do so.  But I can not this time.  Our relationship and what she means to me is not for others to hear or try to understand.  I do not need to speak so others feel better, this time I will do what I need in my grief.   I know what I would say but it is mine, so very precious and what will get me through the infinite sense of loss in her death.

It is weird I so do not want her to die but I also don’t want her to suffer.  It is a common contradiction when facing the loss of someone, an inevitability that we fight while knowing that sometimes it is just a person’s time.  No person’s grief is the same as another’s, and no grief is a replication of the previous grief.  Each time needs to be experienced in the moment it happens, no preparation helps, no previous grieving mitigates it and what gets you through it can completely change.  Grief is a part of life and all we can ultimately do is live every moment with the people that matter to us and leave nothing to that final goodbye.

The Ed Sheeran song “Photograph” is very apt for this topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSDgHBxUbVQ

“Photograph” by Ed Sheeran

Loving can hurt
Loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard
You know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
Times forever frozen still

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin’ me closer
‘Til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone
Wait for me to come home

Loving can heal
Loving can mend your soul
And it’s the only thing that I know (know)
I swear it will get easier
Remember that with every piece of ya
And it’s the only thing we take with us when we die

We keep this love in this photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Our hearts were never broken
Times forever frozen still

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin’ me closer
‘Til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone

And if you hurt me
That’s OK, baby, only words bleed
Inside these pages you just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go

Wait for me to come home [4x]

Oh you can fit me
Inside the necklace you got when you were 16
Next to your heartbeat
Where I should be
Keep it deep within your soul

And if you hurt me
Well, that’s OK, baby, only words bleed
Inside these pages you just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go

When I’m away
I will remember how you kissed me
Under the lamppost
Back on 6th street
Hearing you whisper through the phone,
“Wait for me to come home.”

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Author:

I was 46 years old when I begun this blog, female and married with a house full of cats (7). My past is littered with the impact of events that happened when I was a teen. Two loves of my life have been nursing and studying. I just completed my Master of Arts: Media Studies endorsement. My blog will be about the things I think about, that might be better served being written rather than squirreled away in my mind festering. It is the meanderings of my mind as I seek to define myself and my world.

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