Until last year I was happy to say that I had never experienced grief before. I had heard people talk about it, seen people on TV who were going through it or had experienced it but I was always pleased to say that I didn't have a clue what grief was or how it felt. Now, I am not so lucky.
Grief doesn't feel at all like I thought it would. Actually that's a lie, it did last year. Last year when Brissy died I had reacted in jut the way I had expected I would. I had cried. Not cried, sobbed. That type of heavy sobbing where you just feel that you can't breath. The sobbing then faded and my grief turned into a longing. Longing to see him one more time and to tell him everything that hadn't been said. Then, 4 months later, my Grandad passed away. The grief this time was different. It felt more familiar but that did not make it any easier. It felt like deja vu seeing my family torn to pieces again and in amongst the tears of sadness at loosing one of the worlds kindest men, I felt tears of anger that he had been taken and that my family were having to do this all over again. The next few months were strange as it felt like my family had been broken yet united. We were broken by grief yet united as my Nan was now very poorly and it had become a waiting game. I remember feeling sick every time the phone rang or when I saw my Mum calling me. I always thought it was going to be bad news, until one day that phone call came and it was bad news.
I remember the drive to the hospice and I honest thought that I would know how I would feel. I was prepared for the heart ache and the sadness. I was prepared to have to see my poor Dad breakdown after loosing his mum. I was prepared to support my brothers and let them cry onto my shoulder as I did the same back to them. I wasn't prepared for how different it would actually feel when we arrived. I felt physically sick and the tears actually hurt as I sobbed. I remember feeling like I couldn't breath and just feeling so overwhelmed with grief in that moment of having to say goodbye that I had to go outside. The situation was so familiar yet the emotions were so different.
8 months on and we have passed the anniversary of my 2 granddads passing. We have passed fathers days and birthdays and special occasions. They all come and go with the same sense of sadness and longing. I expected all of this to happen. Looking back on it I think I even expected to feel all those different types of grief. What has come as a shock to me though is the way that I feel now. I miss them all just as much as I did the day they left us and I really (naively) believed that as the months went on it would get easier but it hasn't. It's just changed.
Instead of being filled with the overwhelming tears and grief that I had when they all left us, it is now like a surprise grief. A grief that springs on me when I least expect it and I have to do everything in my power to stop myself from breaking down and letting the red hot tears escape from my eyes. It always happens at the most random of moments. Yesterday I was smelling candles in a store and one smelt just like dove soap and I instantly thought of my Nan and remember how very much I miss her and her funny way of getting our names confused. I miss her hands with all of her rings on. I miss her house. I miss asking my Dad how she is if I haven't spoken to her in a while. All of those feelings triggered by one candle! And just in case your wondering, I brought the candle...how could I not??!?
The other time that I get attacked with surprise grief is when I am out. I could be walking down the road to grab some lunch or walking into work and I will see someone out the corner of my eye that will look like my Grandad or Brissy. The first thing that pops into my head is 'What are they doing down here??' as they both lived while away but before my mind can finish thinking why they are here I am reminded that it is impossible. The emptiness and longing feeling washes over me again and I am left for those couple of seconds standing in the street staring at some random person whilst thinking about how much I miss Brissy calling me Darling and how much I miss my seeing my Grandad having a nap after lunch. I then have to pull myself together and carry on. I have become pretty damn good at that in recent months. If I hadn't then I think I would be crying left, right and centre.
So tell me, those of you who have sadly had to go through this too, when does it stop? Does it ever stop? Does it ever get easier and will the tears ever stop threatening to come at a moments notice because of a memory roused by a smell?
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