Some Thoughts

I'm aware that writing about grief may not bring floods of new blog readers to my blog, and I've thought about whether writing about such personal loss is "too much information" to be sharing on a blog where I usually write about art, creativity and my attempts to draw a cat that looks like a cat. It's a deeply personal topic.



But, not writing about it feels more difficult than writing about it. Somehow, the grief I'm experiencing is demanding a voice, not to stay stuck in it, but actually in order to be able to move through it.

If this is difficult to read, I understand. It's human nature to want to relieve another person's distress and hurt. But grief can't be fixed, and moving through it is a very lonely experience. Moving through it without being able to express what it feels like is lonelier still.

So, I find myself compelled to share about it here, even though it's such a private thing.




Grief isn't linear. It isn't something that can be controlled. It isn't clear and concise.  And, above all else, it isn't in any way, shape or form, simple.

My experience of this grief is different to any other I have experienced.  I have experienced loss and grief before.  I am divorced, I have lost other deeply loved relatives to illness.  I know how I experienced those great losses and how I moved through them, until I reached the edges and was able to pull myself into a "new normal".

But this is different.

I find myself thinking of friends I love very much who have lost their mums too, and I realise how little I understood of the devastation they were going through when their losses occurred.  It wasn't out of callousness or lack of care on my part, but simply a total inexperience of it that meant my understanding was limited.

This grief feels vast, and deep, and so far, four months after the death of my mum, I haven't found the edges of it.  I stretch out thinking that perhaps if I reach far enough, I will find a place internally where it ends, but so far, that's not happened.

And then I read this quote by Eckhart Tolle, and I found myself writing it out in my art journal and surrounding it with pink roses (mine and my mum's favourite flowers)...


Grief is the process of trying to accept the unacceptable.  The process of trying to make peace with the absence of my mum.

"For me it was like losing a planetary presence: Just empty space instead of all that gravity." 
-Unknown

And so four months after my mum's death, I find myself fighting a painful battle of trying to accept something I find unacceptable: Living in the world without my mum in it with me. 

Grief isn't an event. It isn't a choice either.  I know my mum isn't here any more.  I understand fully what happened to her. I'm not wallowing in sadness for the sake of it, or refusing to pull up my boot straps and carry on.  I know life goes on.  I want it to and I want to be a part of it.  But right now, my heart is healing and trying to find a way to accept the painful truth it holds, that there are two parts to my life.  My life with mum as an integral part of it, interwoven into the fabric of my days, where she was physically present in the landscape of it all.  And the other part, where she's gone, and there is the total absence of all of her.



I feel such deep loss and sadness that Mum's no longer with me physically, talking to me, listening to me, being irritated by me, telling me she's proud of me, touching me, disapproving of something I've not done or done, loving me regardless, smiling at me, laughing with me at something rude I've said, hugging me and holding me tight when the world feels frightening. 

Grief is the process of trying to accept that this is the second half of my life, the half without Mum, and it's a strange and complex journey.

I've been confused about how to do this grief journey. Tempted to give myself a hard time for finding it so difficult, Telling myself "it's been four months, Em, come on, Love, get better at doing this." And then I realise, it's been four months, sixteen weeks.  Hardly any time at all, and I am doing just fine where I am.

I know this will change, I know it will get easier, I know I won't always feel this way. But for now, it's where I am and I want to at least try and explain why I'm not smiling as much as I used to (just for now), and why my postman looks terrified when I open the door to collect the mail and he catches sight of my thatched barnet.

With love to you in your grief, if you are grieving, whoever you are and wherever you are.

 



16 comments

  1. Beautifully and truthfully put, Emma. In any process, on any journey, you can only be where you are; wishing to be elsewhere doesn't make it happen. You'll find some boundaries to your grief in time, I'm sure. And since this is your blog, and your life, you can write about whatever you like here, without any need for explanation. Sending love. xxx

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    1. Thank you Curtise, I really appreciate your kindness and support. Sending you love today. Em xx

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  2. The first year is the worst. For me I would say it took about 3 years before I felt I'd rebuilt myself into someone who was able to live knowing she wasn't there. And now, 12 years later, there are times when I can still get overwhelmed - it just doesn't happen so often and it doesn't last so long. It happens the most at times when I know she would have loved to have seen or known about something - perhaps an achievement by one of the kids, for example. Don't be hard on yourself. 4 months is nothing compared to the lifetime you spent with her in your life.

    As for writing about it, I would recommend you write whenever you need to. There are some things going on in my life that I cannot write about because it would affect other people if I did. Unfortunately this is creating a block for me. I cannot think about anything else to write, because I can't get this off my chest and out the way. If you have the space to write, then write - otherwise it will build up and that will do you no good at all.

    ((hugs))

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    1. Thank you Kim. I really appreciate your kindness. Hearing that it took you about three years before you felt like you rebuilt yourself shocked me initially, but now I can really feel that it takes such a long time to find a new normal. I have wanted to push through to a new place but realise I can't. that I need to allow things to unfold and accept the slow and steady pace of healing. I understand your thoughts regarding not being able to write about certain things due to the impact of doing so on other people. There are some things I'd like to write about too, but don't and it's one of causes of the gaps between my posts being fairly long, I wait until I've worked through what I feel comfortable sharing knowing it won't impact on others. Sending hugs to you, and hoping the block lifts soon. Em

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  3. Dear Emma,

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Which I could give you give you some comfort....Sending a big hug from Rotterdam. Take care,

    Madelief xox

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    1. Thank you Madelief, Sending a big hug to you in Rotterdam. Em x

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  4. Emma your words have helped me so much. They soothed my aching heart. Thankyou from my heart. Kez.x

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    1. Hello Kez, I am so glad my words have helped you. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment letting me know. I really appreciate that. Em x

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  5. The first year of "firsts" ~ 1st birthday ~ 1st Mother's Day ~ 1st Thanksgiving ~ etc ~ is the most difficult. It does get better. The 4th anniversary of my mother's passing is coming up this summer. I find that I can now think of her with smiles instead of tears. One of the things she would say to my sister and me is "This too shall pass". It seemed like I heard it from many people after she was gone and each time, I would cry. Now I have a feel of comfort when I hear the words. She would not have wanted me to always think of her with sadness. Everyone grieves differently. I pray you find comfort and send you hugs.

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    1. Thank you Alyce, I'm so sorry for your loss of your mother. It helps me to know you can now think of her with smiles instead of tears. The grief process is such a strange thing isn't it? I really appreciate you taking the time to write your kind words and share your loss too. Thank you for your prayers. Em xx

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  6. Patience , time and acceptance will heal your heart and soul dear Emma. Just be patient with yourself you are doing fine 4 months is no time at all. Sending you love and hugs, dee xx

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    1. Hello Dee, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm sending you love and hugs today. I am beginning to find the edges of my grief, and that feels less frightening. Em xx

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  7. I remember when my mum died l was in Scotland and she was down in England and she died in her sleep so it was sudden no illness and no warning. So it knocked me down. it does get better not that l believed people saying it but it does and its different for everyone.
    What did help me was looking at the photo books and leaving them out so you can just pick them up when you want to, no putting your mum away.

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    1. Hello Jill, I'm so sorry for your loss and to hear how sudden it was. It helps me to hear from you and others that it does get better. I have lost other relatives but have never experienced grief in this way before. I have felt at different times, completely broken by it. I am beginning to feel a change in that I am starting to find some edges to the grief rather than it feeling all-consuming. Thank you for taking the time to share with me your experience of losing your mum. I find looking through pictures of Mum helpful too. xxx

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  8. Giving yourself permission to grieve right out loud in front of all of us is a valuable component of the drawn-out healing process. So good on you for sharing your authentic voice. You are going through a very personal process, but that doesn't mean you're alone. We want to be the soft place that holds you as you cry, and scream, and sob, and mourn. It is our purpose as sister-Earthlings to support each other. And I want you to know that i aamong many, are here for you as you progress thru this year of "firsts" -first birthday without your mum; first holiday; first time you hear yourself laugh again; first time you can think of her without bursting into a river of tears; etc. Thank you for sharing your authentic voice. The other is fine and wonderful, but this -this is powerful. This is RAW LOVE. Grieve. Just grieve. And when you are finally finished with that last tear, know that you are not. There is always a last tear just behind the one before. And that's okay. In fact, it's perfect. And you are perfect in your humanness. Be kind to you.

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    1. Hello Jan, thank you so much for your kind, powerful and supportive words. They touched my heart today. I appreciate you taking the time to connect with me and show your support as I go through this strange and painful process of grieving. It helps to know it is part of being human to experience this, something I know but forget in the midst of all the pain and sadness. Sending love and light through the internet ether. Em xx

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