“No-one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear” – CS Lewis .
Today I dumped the toothbrush.. Such a trivial small natural occurrence for many people and yet for me this toothbrush has been lying side by side with my own in its glass pot for over five years.. unused and idle, has taken me five years, 3 months, less one day to dump.
Every Morning I reach for my own and that familiar twang deep across the chest down into the heart, for a fleeting second occurs and dissipates again as quickly as it rose.
This is grief, in all its ugliness and beauty.
It resides idle, like this toothbrush.
in March 2015 my Husband, Barry, Died suddnely at 41 years old. He was Vibrant and Healthy and Lived life. It shook us all, family and friends alike, and the grief that rippled across the weeks, months and into the years.
Grief you see has become my friend and my enemy. It has shaped me and shaped my soul into something else, something new and foreign. It reminds me every day of the love I felt and still feel and in that regards gives comfort to me .
It is also my enemy, it hides and waits sometimes un-noticed until it decides to roar. I’ve chatted to Grief many times, I believe it listens but it never speaks back. I have asked it politely many times before not to roar when I’m out shopping. Horrifying the poor shop keepers more than once with sudden outbursts of tears because they had his favourite beer on sale that day, or when I’m celebrating a friends event and their special day, Christmas, Birthdays and so forth. I’ve spoken to grief, over my morning coffee and asked it to give me a heads up for the day .
Every Morning I reach for my toothbrush and every Morning I take a little deep breath as I see his lying Idly by. Every Morning without fail that quick intake of breath.
Helen Keller said “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us”.
Like many of you reading this I have also had the usual advise from caring and thoughtful friends meaning well .. you know the sort “It’s time to move on “, ” isn’t it time to stop grieving “, “God only gives us what we can handle” (My personal favourite!) however my frenemy – Grief isn’t listening, It isn’t resonating with him.
I have an intimate relationship with Grief now, we have formed a bond , an un-spoken agreement between us that says “It’s ok you know, to go at your own pace. I have your back. I’m going to try to be kind and silence the roar. Isn’t it a beautiful day today, maybe we can go for a walk. remember the time Barry set up the tent to watch the night sky and you spent the whole night laughing together, well you can have that memory today without crying”.
Today Grief and I had an agreement that it’s ok to throw out his toothbrush. I accept the gift I’ve been offered before it changes its mind. I’m one less brush in the glass jar.
My words of hope to anyone reading this is it’s ok to throw the books that say “Stages of Grief”, the “Moving on” and ignoring advise that is saying to you “It’s time to move on”. Maybe, just maybe, through acceptance and befriending grief that truly is the best cure.
Put away the stopwatch, keep the toothbrushes, and the nearly empty bottle of perfume or aftershave, the used cup in the kitchen shelf.
It’s ok not to be ok.
It’s ok to let Grief roar.
It’s ok to cry and be sad.
It’s ok to take a short intake of breath when triggered.
Time is irrelevant, Grief doesn’t have a watch, so why bother trying to put a time on an emption.
I hope you find your space of calm and quiet in this acceptance.