Musings on a year without you

There are so many clichés around grief. That it comes in stages. True, but it’s not as linear as that. I seem to have each stage in one day sometimes… then be stuck in one stage (usually depression) for weeks at a time.  That it will sometimes just creep up and hit you out of nowhere. True, particularly when you’ve been having a few ‘good’ days. That you will never truly get over the pain of losing someone you love. Well, no. Obviously not. That the first year is the hardest. I really fucking hope so.

I’m sick of the ‘firsts’. The first Christmas. Birthday. Festival. Our anniversary. Fireworks night. The anniversary of him dying. Each one loomed over me for weeks. A constant reminder that any happiness I was feeling was not going to stick around for very long. Each time felt like I lost him all over again.

I miss him so very much. I miss telling him all the random things I’ve done in my day. I miss watching telly with him. I miss his happy, excited face as we planned festivals. I miss our little random breaks to caravans around the county. I miss him telling me that it’ll be fine.

It’s not fine, Nat. It’s really not fine.

I don’t stop thinking about him. I hope that he knew how much I’d be thinking about him. I hope he knew how much I loved him and would have done for him.

When I’m out doing simple, every day chores, that’s when it hits me the most. I remember trips into town, looking round the market. Going for a full English, then hitting out-of-date-Dave’s for some snacks… Everywhere reminds me far too much of Nat. And I’m glad. I don’t want to forget him. But it’s painful, too. Like a punch in the guts. A rush of adrenaline that stops me in my tracks. I find myself crying in public far too often. At first, it stopped me going out. But now I cry. It’s like sometimes my filter has gone and I don’t care what people think about me anymore. On other days, it is far too tempting to hide away inside. Where I can cry to my heart’s content. Where nobody will ask me how I am doing, or look at me with that damned sympathetic smile.

I have moments where I feel happy. Then I feel guilty for feeling happy. Then I feel annoyed at myself for feeling guilty for feeling happy. And then I just feel sad again.

I question how the world sees me. Well, not the world, but my small world – my friends and old colleagues and family. Do they think I’m coping too well? Should I be falling apart more? But I’ve always been pretty good at putting on a brave face when needed. Nat taught me how to be even better at that – he was the master! I try not to fall to pieces too often in front of people, but sometimes I wish I was better at doing just that. At letting it all go. Shouting and screaming and smashing stuff. But I can’t. Too anxious or shy or too worried about what people bloody think of me, probably.

There are all these other parts to grieving that I didn’t know about… how some days I walk in to the living room and I’m still surprised that he’s not sat in his chair. On nights out, or at festivals, I find myself worrying about him, panicking that I’ve left him on his own.  Sometimes Kashka looks round the house for him and it’s heart breaking. Or I’ll catch the look on the face of one of our friends suddenly realising again at a party and it makes me physically ache.

And guilt. There’s an awful lot of guilt in grief. Sometimes I’m relieved that Nat isn’t suffering any more. That I’m not watching him suffer anymore. And then I feel so utterly guilt-ridden for thinking that. I feel guilty for thinking about the future. I feel guilty for planning the things we could never have done when Nat was here. Trips abroad. Nights out to inaccessible places. Random day trips. All things I wish we could be doing together, but know we never would have.

I’ve learned a lot. Another cliché. I’m learning to care a little less about what people think about me. I’ve learned that I’m tougher than I thought. That when I put my mind to something it’ll happen, somehow. That I’m still really rubbish with money, even though Nat really tried to make me better! I’ve learned that we really had something special and I’m not sure I’ll ever find that again. Or if I even want to. I’ve learned to put a very brave face on. But I’m slowly learning to let my guard down a bit more too. I’ve learned that you can’t rely on everyone, but some people will be there no matter what. I’m clinging on to the friendships that matter, and shedding the ones that don’t.

This first year has been awful. So much tougher than I could have imagined. But I’m still standing. I’m not completely broken yet. I’ve got all the support I need to keep moving forward. And at least all those bloody ‘firsts’ are done with now.


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1 Comment

  1. dumbwitness

     /  November 23, 2017

    You’re doing amazing Peej, tiny steps but giant steps at the same time.


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