For anyone who needs comfort, for anyone who cannot see a brighter day, for anyone who needs to feel understood, I see you x 

People use this phrase “times a healer” a lot when they speak to you about grief and it used to irritate me. Anyone that said it to me after my dad passed away, I could of straight up punched them in the face. The whole sentence would send a wave of boiling hot rage over my body. 

I didn’t want time to be my healer, I just wanted my dad back, and my family. The 6 of us, whole again. The problem is, yes over time we know the grief will become easier to digest every day, but at the beginning, you can’t see past the fog of trauma of what has happened. You get so lost in the pain of it that you struggle to move any further forward. But let me say, without realising, you are moving forward. You’re showing up every day, yes sometimes you are having better days than others, but you’re still carrying on. Your healing. 

I use to wonder if as weeks and months passed that the pain would pass, that I’d wake up one day and something within my being would kick into gear and produce some type of magical band-aid to heal the agony that I felt day by day. I’d wake up each day, making a huge effort to practice positive mantras, making a huge effort to stay connected to others, making a huge effort to tell my self over and over that I am strong. I would fill my days with jobs, housework, playdates, absolutely anything to try and drown the pain of how I felt inside. But the pain would never lessen. The ache I felt in my heart, the gut-wrenching grind in my stomach, the emptiness within never went.

When you lose someone you often feel like grief has a time limit. I found myself meeting friends and when they asked “how are you doing” I’d instantly reply with the most masked untrue answer “I’m doing fine” this is never true. If someone ever tells you they’re fine, they are in fact not fine. The word fine is so nothingy, it has no passion, no zest, no power, its just “fine”. The problem is we tell ourselves when grieving, that people are sick of hearing about it, they are not interested anymore, it’s been too long, they don’t want to hear me talk about the same depressing subject over and over. But that isn’t actually true, for someone to ask how are you doing, is an olive branch for you. You’re allowed to talk about your feelings, you are allowed to hold your hands up and say, you know what, I’m struggling. So I would encourage you to take that branch, let your emotions move through you where you are safe, where you feel held and loved. 

The problem is with moving these sadder emotions is that we are in a society where any negative emotion is almost frowned upon. If it’s not a happy feeling, we shouldn’t be talking about it. Conditioning I feel is partly responsible for this negative emotion boycott. As a child you cry, maybe someone took your toy, maybe you fell over in the playground. You’re told immediately “oh don’t cry” “oh be brave” Why the actual F do we even do this. Why can’t we cry, why can’t we express how we feel. If you as an adult had your bag stolen, you’d cry. If you as an adult fell over and cut your leg, you’d cry. But nobodies there saying “Oh don’t cry, be brave” and this is the issue with grief. We have spent so long seeing crying, or sadness as a weak emotion, as an unhealthy emotion, that we don’t allow ourselves to really feel into that pain. We keep such a high guard up to protect ourselves that we appear to others to actually be “fine” when we are in fact not. Crying is healthy, and as so many of you know, after losing someone so precious it’s necessary. Without moving this emotion through us we end up as disconnected, unhealthy human beings. We lose that light from us and that was not something the one that passed would have wanted to take. 

When we are losing someone we love this question lingers in your mind, why them?. It replays all sorts of scenarios to you, ways to make the human mind understand why such brutality would happen to you, happen to someone you love. You search for an answer, as Human beings we cannot accept the unknown. Every single thing needs an answer and an explanation. If not we feel incomplete and we feel cheated by life. We think to ourselves about the fairness, we compare the person we are losing or have lost to ones we feel are more worthy of death. We sit and list all sorts of characters that in our eyes deserve this so much more than the beautiful soul that’s parting you and your families. Its something people probably wouldn’t admit, but I know for me one of the first things I used to think about, was who should have died instead of my dad. And you know what as awful as that is…. I’m ok with that, I accept that darkness in my mind, I accept that my pain allowed me to travel there. Your emotional body cannot process pain without finding some rationality in it, otherwise, the acceptance would wave over us, and swallow us within its sorrow. We wouldn’t be able to wake up and make that day, without giving ourselves some type of emotional release and understanding. 

Watching someone die brings even more questions. The fairness of it, and is it fair? Would we let an animal suffer? No, we would just put it to sleep. But this is not something we do to Human beings. You sit and watch the person you love so dear whittle away into a shadow of the person you once knew. You see their pain, you feel their pain. You can’t help but allow your mind to wander into the question of how is it fair. And all you can provide yourself with for any type of conclusion is … no, it is not. And the simple fact again that life cannot be fair. But who told us it would be. Were we born with a written agreement under our certificate of birth, stating and promising that the life we will walk will always be fair, will always be pain-free?

The journey of grief is so complex and one that can only be truly understood by someone who has walked the same journey. It’s been a year since I lost my dad and I can hold my hand on my heart and tell you in upmost honesty the grief has got easier in a sense that I don’t grieve for my dad all day, however, the pain is still there. I truly feel when someone you love leaves this world it reshapes the person you are whether you meant it to or not. However we are still here and they are not, we have to move forward and we have to find a new way to live without them. They would want that for us and most importantly you as the individual deserve that. 

You deserve to heal x 

A section from the book “The Gift” 

The gift of the story you never got to write.

Nothing you ever love will ever truly leave you. Yes, it will physically at some point leave, sadly death is inevitable. But there is nothing in this universe that can ever remove that bond, that connection, that deep-set feeling within your soul. You and the person that has left are intertwined in an endless weave of blissful light. The light you have within you reaches them, keeps them with you. Nothing with that much power, that much strength, can ever truly leave you.

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  1. Susan
    April 1, 2020

    This touches my heart deeply Phoebe.

  2. Ce
    April 1, 2020

    Phoebe this is eloquent, beautiful writing, a unique insight into the grieving process of the family, and a picture of you all and your Dad at your most vulnerable. It will become an invaluable tool to share to help those going through similar traumas in their lives, Simon and of course all your family will be immensely proud that you have shared this phenomenal work with all of us. Thankyou ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Judith
    April 2, 2020

    Phoebe, thank you for writing this beautiful and honest blog which has brought tears to my eyes.

    My dad died of cancer back in 1989 but it was very quick. I recognise most of the emotions you describe to one degree or another. When my mother died in 2015 I realised I had not fully grieved for my father. You are so right about our conditioning regarding voicing our grief. Ironically it was my parents who had contributed to this conditioning for me. Like you I came to hate the phrase “time heals” and to be honest I have come to realise it really isn’t true. It’s one of those remarks people say to grievers in order to stop them showing their feelings. That and “be strong”. I now realise that true strength is being able to show and feel all our emotions rather than bottle them up. What heals us is our expression of grief, feeling it and being with it. That of course does take time but time in of itself can’t heal a griever.

    I applaud you for your raw honesty and vulnerability. I am sure your words will offer comfort to many who are going through this grieving process. You will help them realise they are normal, that it’s OK to feel however they feel. That is a wonderful gift.

  4. Patricia Hopkins
    April 4, 2020

    Bless you Phoebe. Your ability to express your experience will help so many others who have no voice, and no one to listen. I will continue to hold you and our family in my heart. May you all heal and become more of who you are…brilliant, beautiful, soulful people.

  5. Lyn
    May 10, 2020

    I sat and read all your posts together, one after the other. It felt as though I was experiencing all the feelings you were able to eloquently to describe. I could picture each scene and feel each emotion. Deep sadness and loss sat within me. I truly feel this blog will find itself with those who will need it most and also those who maybe don’t realise yet the peace it will bring.

    Keep writing Phoebe, it’s a gift to impart so purely and honestly such deep heartfelt emotions xxxx

  6. Fiona
    May 15, 2020

    Oh I think Faith made me find your blog….As I type I am sitting by my mum listening to her sleep peacefully…..She/webhave come to the end of her hard 8 year battle with cancer and as I listen to each breath I can barely breathe as I fear each one is her last…..I dread it and I know we will hear it soon very soon and I do not know how to cope with this….So I am hoping I will be able to pull on your experiences to help me along a road I do not want to travel 💔 A heartbroken daughter


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