This week I have been doing a lot of thinking about bereavement. I have posted before about Jenny and her loss, in fact she posted two very honest and hard to read blogs this week about her feelings on the pregnancy of her new baby, and about supporting someone who has lost a child. In fact I would suggest that a lot of the advice given in the latter post is very relevant regardless of who has died.
I am very lucky. I have never suffered the loss that Jenny writes about. I have been friends with people who have, I have worked with people who have. Time only dulls the sharpness of the pain they feel. They will always live with the day of the week, the month of the year, the time of the day, the surroundings, the smells, the music, that will take them straight back to that minute. Straight back to the sharpest of pains.
I have been bereaved, I have had several miscarriages while pregnant, and I mourn for all the babies I never had. I still do. I still feel the loss, I still have the memories. My parents died of cancer while my children were young (they were both in their sixties) and so my children never really got to know them. I was in a very dark place when my father died. It took a long time to come to terms with my grief, but it was the natural order. Parents die before their children, supposedly. I felt lost, I felt alone, I felt I had let him down, I didn’t feel good enough, I felt that my children would miss out on knowing their grandfather, I didn’t know what to do for the best. It was all I could do to get up in the morning, let alone feed my children, do the normal day to day stuff of being a mother. It took time, patience, good friends, a loving and understanding husband and medication to get through it all.
Bereavement is a fact of life. Death and Taxes are the only certainties. Death. A horrible word. Bereavement, a word which does not describe the pain. The loss. The emptiness. The memories. The tiredness that comes with all those feelings. The sheer effort of talking to other people. People who think you should have got over it by now (how the hell do you get over something like death?) that you should move on. Bereavement is never-ending. On a programme here in the UK, Cilla Black was asked about her husband. He had died 15 years ago. The papers appeared suprised that she was upset while talking about him.
There are many charities who support people who are grieving. Specialist charities for children who are bereaved, for parents of babies, children who have died. All of whom rely on charitable contributions. I find it shocking (but not suprising) that there is more support for new parents than there is for people who have a family member or a friend die.
I don’t know if I have made sense. I suspect not. I know that the chances are I will be bereaved again. As I grow older, inevitably I will attend more funerals, I face my own mortality. I worry that my husband will die before me. I only wish that people didn’t have to suffer the pain that goes with being left behind when some-one dies.