Going back to go forward- By Niamh Gale

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it really means to process grief, to understand loss, and to essentially move forward with a life that will never be quite the same. The real truth is that within grief and within the experience of losing someone you love, we cannot physically or mentally absorb the magnitude of the situation or, at least, I know that I couldn’t.
I find myself often in this state of disbelief, this state of shock with no level of comprehension. I’m beginning to realise that that is ok, how could we possibly understand? Understand why life chose us to feel this, why life chose them to be the one to die. So with this in mind, I’ve realised that everything I do to cope, manage, deal with my grief, is perfectly imperfect.
For me it is reliving, taking the time to think and be in those moments of vast pain. I often feel that in the last months of my Dad’s life that I lived in a cloud, a haze, something that seemed quite out of consciousness. How could it not, how could my mind, my heart, my body have witnessed that pain in a conscious state. I often relive some of the most painful moments, the day my Mum told me that there wasn’t much time left, the days I laid with Dad reassuring him we’d all be ok, the day my brothers had to carry my Dad down the stairs because his body was so weak, the days people came to say their goodbyes, the day my Dad stopped speaking, the days my Mum spent by his side, every minute of every day, the hours I spent watching his chest rise and fall, the night I woke to the cruel reality that my Dad was really gone, the moments I had to share this with my siblings, the hours I laid with him waiting for the funeral directors to collect his body, the phone calls we made to heartbroken family, the empty living room we sat in for the days that followed, the tears in the darkness, walking behind my Dad’s coffin and the overwhelming feeling of not knowing if I would make it through this.

There is no comprehension of any of this, how could there be. What I do know is that my Dad’s legacy continues through our amazing family, through his wife, my mother who is the most resilient, loving, and incredible person I know. Through his daughter, my sister, Phoebe who has found a new way to connect with Dad and a way to connect us to him too. Through his son, my brother Murray who continues to persevere and make him proud every single day. Through his second son, my brother Robson who proves to us all that with love and determination we can come through anything. Through his wonderful Grandchildren who bring a light to us all that we couldn’t be more thankful for. Through every single person he influenced, which I know was so many, in every hug he gave, in every word of guidance, every smile, and every piece of love he showed to so many.    

“There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.” — Unknown    

Therefore we must go back, we must, over time, relive the painful moments, the moments we thought we’d never witness, the levels of sadness we thought didn’t exist, the gravity of the pain of losing someone we can’t live without, we must do this in order to truly take in the complexities of what has happened. Slowly as we let bits of this back into our mind and as we release emotion towards it, we work through it, gently after time passes these moments become further apart, and only then can we start to flow forwards, minute by minute, day by day.    

With all this in mind comes the reliving of the lighter times, every memory made, every sandcastle in the sun, every bike ride, every house we built a home, every holiday, every gelato we tried, every beautiful walk in the woods, every warm embrace, every breakfast, lunch and dinner, every wise word shared, every funny moment, every tear we shed, every bonfire night, every firework set off, every beer in the pub, every cocktail at the restaurant, every Christmas market, every fair ground, every birthday, every new years eve, every wedding, every celebration, more extravagant than the last, all of this brought together in what is the incredible memory of my, quite truthfully, absolutely epic Dad.

        “When we are reminded that life is fleeting, we learn to appreciate every moment with more poignancy. We are grateful for every moment, we remain present and savour each minute. — the essence of life warms my heart and fills me with gratitude.”  

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  1. Susan Gale
    September 20, 2020

    Niamh, thank you for sharing your words, your thoughts and your heart. 💜🙏🏼

  2. celia d
    September 20, 2020

    Beautiful Niamh. Relive every moment. It is such a connection, and why would we want to forget?

  3. Manuela
    January 16, 2022

    This is gorgeous Niamh. You’ve pinned down some pretty hard to describe sentiments, my tears are flowing, and I am so grateful for your words. Thank you for being so open, candid, and brave. What a beautiful legacy he has left in shape of you ♥️


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