My grief observed: the imminent milestones
Words your grieving friend wants you to know.
I wrote these words on my blog (here) four years ago; but they still ring true. I was reminded of this piece because a friend of mine is coming close to her own first anniversary milestone. We all get to a point in life when we grieve someone, when we have to face big life occasions without them. If you're there, I hope you find comfort in knowing that you're not alone - our journeys and timelines may be different, but the landmarks can be the same.
My father fell ill 1st July 2015 and passed away 15th July that same year.
Those are dates that’ll be forever etched in my family’s heart. We can’t and won’t ever forget them.
What’s insane is that this year has flown by so quickly, and so much has happened. We have crossed off so many firsts since Dad left…his birthday, our own birthdays, Christmas, Easter…all of the times we would have spent together. And now we have come back around, full circle, to him being gone officially for a year. What a strange anniversary to have to observe forever.
Like the other milestones we have had to go through as a family, this one seems impossible to face. It’s imminent, ominous and unavoidable.
My biggest problem, at the moment is the feeling of helplessness and non-control of watching those dates draw closer for my family and myself.
Helplessness, in that I know my mother is racked with fear and guilt, and I cannot take any of that away.
As for the lack of control…well I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be like! Up until now my emotions have mastered the art of surprise. For someone who likes to keep a cap on the negative emotions especially in front of others…this hasn’t been well received! I fear these days will be no different. I may be perfectly fine one moment, only to be in a complete state the next!
I’m angry. I’m fearful. I’m sad. I’m confused. I can’t make a decision. I could cry…nope I’m definitely going to cry. That was funny, but I don’t want to laugh. That smells nice, but I’m not hungry. Stop asking me to make a decision, it’s not going to happen!
What. A. Mess.
Seriously…snot for days.
And yet…there is nothing I can do about it!
Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Here is the crux of it though… somehow and for some reason…people still choose to be around you during these times! The good ones stick around, they don’t rush you out of your emotions or make you feel awkward for feeling them.
This is a personal shout out to the friends who have dared to ask me how I’m coping (knowing they won’t be able to make me feel better); the ones who sit with me in silence whilst I lament; the ones who cry with me. Thank you for standing by me and my family during the tough milestones that have passed and those still to come.
I love you.
Like I said above, I hope these words gave you some comfort. I remember that year so well. The imminent approach of the first anniversary loomed over me like the Demogorgon over Hawkins at the end of Stranger Things Season 2 (and if you don't know what that is, click on the link or start watching the show, it doesn't disappoint). I honestly didn't think my family and I could see it through, but we did. The day came and passed. So did many other milestones - from me passing my MA, to my wedding day and buying my first house. All of which I never envisioned happening without my father. But we are still here, we miss him every moment of every day, but the days keeping moving forward.
I saw a lovely illustration of grief (here) which demonstrates that we don't ever "get over it", but our lives do continue to grow around it. I know it doesn't seem possible at first, but I've experienced that to be true.
For more on how I am keeping myself sane in the chaos, you can follow me on IG: healthy.thoughts.byk.