Ten Things I Know To Be TrueBy Emma Pearson
September 22, 2023
Photo Courtesy of Sarah Treanor (streanor.com)
One. Mike was one in a million. My life was a million times better with Mike. I have a million more problems without Mike. I have a million fewer resources without Mike. Mike was a million million good things. His death has meant a million million bad things. I miss my life with Mike.
Two. Death separates you (me) from the one who died. Death separates you (me) from those who live. Life after death is being in no-man’s land. I fit neither in the land of the dead, nor in the land of the living. My life is spent in no-man’s land.
Three. Living is hard when my champion, my source of resource, is no longer by my side, cheering me on, cheering us on. I thought I was Mike’s champion, Mike’s source of resources. It turns out he was more mine.
Four. Primary loss hurts like hell. Like a guillotine to the neck. Sharp, swift, shocking. No more breathing body next to mine. No more affectionate arms around me whether I needed support or not. No more sharing of laughter, ideas, stories, plans, dreams, fears, fantasies, sex, affection, saliva, other bodily fluids, showers, baths, meals, glasses of wine, runs, holidays, duets, songs, jokes, books, writing, underwear, hoodies, mountain walks, ski lifts, car rides, problems, recipes, beach walks, conversation…
Five. Secondary losses are a slow death by a million million cuts. Secondary losses like restorative sleep, energy, passion, dreams, friendships, confidence, support, family, invitations, woes, financial concerns, my future, my past, memories, retirement ideas, holiday prospects. Fears of future losses are accentuated like my dog dying, my parents dying, the kids dying. I cannot face more.
Six. I know people mean well in their grief support, but if I get one more, “I am SOOOOOO sorry not to have been in touch; my life has been Craaaazy!!!! I PROMISE I will be in touch soon. Byeeeee!”, I will delete you from my address book.
Seven. I know people mean well in their grief support, but if I get one more, “Things get better with time/Mike is all around you/Mike would want you to be happy/You had a good marriage and you can have another good relationship/You don’t get more than you can handle/All things will turn out for the best/You’re so courageous – I couldn’t handle what you have to/You’ll be great at helping others with grief/The kids will live much more responsible lives”, etc, I will personally torture you by extracting each and every hair on your body. Just stop it. Now. Please. It’s torture.
Eight. I know people mean well in their grief support, but the simple truth is, there is no “support”, there is no lifting, there is no lightening. There is just presence. Just witnessing. Listening. Breathing slowly with me. Not fixing. Just saying, “I am so sorry it’s this hard. And I am here to witness the shitty load of crap you’re having to deal with, day in, day out, night in, night out, week after week, month after month, year after year. And even though I know you are sad and angry and distressed and short-tempered and send me packing and don’t have time for me, I am here for you, always”.
Nine. I am shocked and distressed every time I see a man over 50 or so, arm in arm with a woman my age. I am shocked and distressed every time I see a mid-life couple embrace. I am shocked and distressed every time I see a family, complete with two parents and kids, out and about. I am shocked and distressed every time I see a film or read a story about “normal” life. I am shocked and distressed that I am shocked and distressed. I have forgotten the normal. I go to concerts alone. I go to the cinema alone. I travel alone. I sleep alone. I cook alone. I eat alone. I shop alone.
Ten. We don’t talk about death enough. We don’t talk about grief enough. We don’t honour the dead enough. We don’t talk about life and living enough. We don’t live enough. We don’t love enough. We don’t explore pain enough. Life is loss, love is loss, love is grief, grief is pain and fear and anxiety and stress and worry. I need a fucking miracle. Now, please.