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Side Effects of Grief.

by meg ivy brunning 11 months ago in grief
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A short story / journal entries on the side effects of grief (for me ... and maybe you too).

Artwork by me: Meg Ivy Brunning (Part of the Bittersweet Collection 2021)

These last few years haven't been too kind to me, I think I can tell you that much, in full confidence.

I’m not here to complain, nor brag, that’s never my intention, I have enough time of my own to host my own 'one person pity parties', I don’t need to invite anyone else along.

However, it's never hurt to express how I've been feeling and after many therapy sessions, I don't mind the thought of strangers knowing about how I'm feeling too.

I hope you can find some solace in this piece somewhere.

ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊

“[because] Grief is headaches, the kind of headache you get where it’s too bright, the kind where you look at your phone too soon when you wake up, struggling to turn down the brightness, groaning and throwing a hand over your eyes in attempts to shield yourself.

It sometimes dumbs itself down to a mere dull throb, this feeling amounting to when you’ve looked at the sun or at a screen for too long."

It’s trying to get to sleep ... that weird limbo where you’re still present in reality but you’re slowly tumbling — well not tumbling it’s more like slipping — into a dream like state. Kind of like when you meet an old friend, (more like ambushed by one in your home town) and you have to partake in that whole other genre of small talk, sometimes even shaking their hand weakly (I hate weak handshakes) when you see them or when you depart (you never really know how to greet them ... or even worst how to leave the conversation altogether. Everyone knows that "I should get going now" is just another way of saying "This has been excruciatingly painful and I hope we don't bump into each other anytime soon." ).

It’s staring at the same wall for five minutes because all you can think about is just getting through the day. That’s all you need to do. It’s taking posters off of your walls you’ve had since you were fifteen, only to stick them back in the same place five minutes later because you realised how much sentimental value they hold (that’s why my walls haven’t changed in over five years because i refuse to get rid of anything).

It’s staring at photos you took two years ago and hearing your dads voice in the back of your head telling you “That’s a good shot Meg.” and smiling to yourself before realising that you’ll never be able to hear that voice again. Because now it’s all radio silence and static. The kind of static that would happen when I would first turn on my Nana’s old TV to watch Fantasia. I never understood that film and I don’t understand grief, there seems to be some sort of correlation forming here.

Maybe I’m just a bit too obsessed with things I can’t understand very well.

It’s being awake at 1am and wondering when you’re finally going to be able to get to sleep after a day of crying and trying to erase the memory of everything you’re sad about, before realising that the physical memories of your Dad have been erased and that you can’t stop thinking about it. That that’s why you’re crying all the time. Of course, you’re crying because you’re sad and you’re feeling a lot of emotions and often times they become way too much to handle and to understand so you try to take yourself out for walks and look at the trees or the sky, just like you would from the front seat of your Dads old MG.

You try to tell yourself that when you finally get to sleep, you might be able to dream about him again and although said dreams have really been fucking you and your apparent groove up lately you still wish to see him.

Because then you're close to him, somehow.

And that somehow is better than nothing.

Nothing at all except a black screen and static again.

It’s taking 30 minutes out every day to talk to your dad (like your therapist said to do) so it will help you sleep better at night.

I haven’t tried that yet, I feel a little crazy, maybe I’ll start that routine tomorrow.

Who knows what the fuck a routine is anymore when all of yours have gone askew and you don’t even know what day it is. I have a knack for forgetting what the day is for days at a time, they all meld together like summer evenings and wine in glasses that are too posh for you to have when you’re 21 and going to University. You’re supposed to have shitty plastic cups because then you can’t break them and accidentally step on glass.

ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊

Lately, I've been trying to pick up some of the pieces that were thrown away (or just got misplaced) when my world came crashing down (thanks to Grief!) and trying to figure out where they once belonged.

ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊

It’s bitter sweet, I never knew I had this much melancholy built up until now.

Lodging in my throat or pouring from my eyes, scratching my voice.

Memories of me and my Father in art galleries in London when I was younger and going to the “capital” was exhilarating and exciting.

Stepping on the tube with your Father by your side, something grown up and sophisticated instead of stressful and unnecessary. His elbow nudging my side when we were in the gallery, my hushed giggles as he would make up extraordinary fictional stories about the artwork that was being presented as if he had created it himself. Secretly wiping my tears as he would play his favourite Simple Minds or Pink Floyd album on the way home, the roof down (if it was a summers day or spring afternoon), my hair flying around like crazy. Two Suns in the Sunset blasting through the speakers, it swiftly transitioning to Alfie by Lily Allen.

My Father was never afraid of his music taste, he revelled in it, he loved to tell people about the music he liked ... he connected with people that way. He connected through stories, music and movies. He connected through writing, wanting to touch people with the words he wrote. I got it from him. This obsession with words and wanting people to understand me, wanting them to feel something, anything even for a brief moment in time to feel what I was feeling.

My Dad would play this song, telling me the same story over and over again it’s seared in the corners of my mind forever.

He was in the States, Boston to be really specific, working. I was young only about 1 or 2 maybe even 3, I couldn’t be so sure since I don’t remember those years.

All I remember from those years in fact is my love for these bright red wellies I owned (which I would wear all the time, even if I didn’t need too. What can I say? I was pioneering fashion trends from the very day I was born ...) and digging up my garden with a small spade and my beloved watering can. Hey. I was a fashion and gardening fiend. Sustainability at its finest!

My dad was in a shop or maybe it was an airport (you see this is where it starts to blur a little I can never remember which) and this song by Creed — specially With Arms Wide Open — starts to play. He used to say that he was never afraid to admit that it made him tear up slightly because it reminded him of me so much.

The other day my sister found loads of photos in my Dad’s wallet ... they were all of me and her.

Some individual, some where we were in school photos together or baby photos of us together.

-- Who knew my parents were so into photoshoots of us when we were younger? I certainly wasn’t aware. Guess I can add that onto the list: Fashion Icon, Gardener and Model?! Check! --

He had photos of me I had never seen before that he would carry with him everywhere — these photos seeing more countries than I have ever physically been to let alone seen before. --

Anyways, back to the song. I don’t think I’ll be able to listen to it again for a while, I was going to try to the other day but didn’t want to cause any self sabotage for myself.

Maybe next week.


ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊˚ੈ✩‧₊

What I'm trying to say is, maybe the side effects will sometimes go down to one or two ... maybe even zero on the good days, but it doesn't mean they will ever fully subside.

And for once, I'm beginning to be okay with that.

These were my side effects.

I wonder what are yours.

₊˚ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊₊˚ੈ✩‧₊˚˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥੈ˚ · .·˚ ༘ꕥ˚ · .ੈ✩‧₊ꕥ˚₊


About the author

meg ivy brunning

writing whatever is on my mind and about music i really like (and sometimes don't like) ... or something like that <3

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