Grief is like a tidal wave from the sea of normal life. It rears up, dwarfs you, intimidates and shocks you, sweeping you away, leaving only the debris and detritus of your life in its wake.
When you pick yourself up and look behind, the path is littered with fragments of your previous existence – memories good and bad, the what ifs, the why’s and why nots and you gaze at the destruction in bewilderment wondering can you ever put it all back together?
The answer is yes, you can, but everything is different now. You are different because you have been battered and bruised along the way, injured by this wave. And even though you rebuild, the original model has been swept away never to return.
You carry on, you must, that’s the unwritten rule. You do it mostly for others, parents or kids, you fight the numbness inside yourself, you push yourself along the path. Then, one day, it may feel slightly easier. One day, maybe, it won’t be so all consuming. One day, perhaps, you will breathe more freely. One day, possibly, you will laugh out loud. But the grief – it will remain inside you, curled up into a hard, unyielding little ball and it stays there. That’s what no one tells you. It never leaves.
It fragments and splinters. Shards of it break off sometimes and travel to another part of your body. Instead of welling in your gut, it travels to an extremity – an arm or a leg, or your head perhaps, and you experience unexplained aches and pains. Physical prompts. Reminders.
Grief stalks you. It lurks in the shadows and in the shade. It is the ultimate shapeshifter. It’s not like other emotions that can erode or deepen over time, like love, or flare up or fizzle out, like anger.
Grief is a constant. It crystallises on impact. That’s how I visualise it, like a crystal. Hard. Glittery. Defiant. I’ve never liked crystals for this very reason. They seem to me like raging, hardened rocks of grief, emanating toxic rays.
Grief ambushes and blindsides you. Just when you think you are safe, it comes slicing through the dark curtain of night slashing and scarring as it goes, like Freddie Kruger.
The yawning, gaping chasm that is left never quite closes over. It is like a missing tooth that you know is gone but you don’t dwell on every moment of every day.
There is no true recovery from grief. There is only restructuring. Rebuilding. And an awful lot of platitudes. This is the griefkeepers secret.