When time passes on and you reach those milestones, the first year without the one you lost, their first birthday without them, your first Christmas apart, you can’t help but feel that others think you have now stopped grieving. You’ve had that year of firsts, you’ve spent the year trying to fix your broken pieces back together. So the thought comes that surly friends think you must be doing well.
People you know starting asking less and less about them, they stop checking in, they stop mentioning their name. It can feel as though they never existed. An overwhelming feeling of isolation comes upon you, you feel as though they’ve just forgotten. After all that was said in those first months, year of them passing, they feel forgotten.
I felt this for a while, it played on my mind. I used to sit and think how so many can be present at a funeral yet so little stay present in the months that follow, years to come. And when thinking about it, I felt this…. It’s not up to them, it’s up to us. If I sat here today and didn’t speak the truth about the loss of my dad openly, and in its rawness, then my family and friends would most likely assume I didn’t want to talk about him. They’d think I was doing well, they’d feel I was moving on, healing. And don’t get me wrong parts of me are healing, parts of me are becoming stronger, but a big part of me is still empty, and I know that emptiness will remain for the rest of my life. So it’s not up to them to ask constantly about my dad, it’s up to me to trust and share my feelings, however, and whenever I want. Feeling safe in the fact that whoever I share this with is loving enough to listen and hold space at that moment for me and what I want to share. We have to remember those who love us tread very carefully with our grief. Perhaps your friend doesn’t want to bring it up every time you’re together, perhaps your partner doesn’t want to upset and see your tears flow again. We have to realise it’s not neglect, it’s not them forgetting, it’s simply them protecting us by locking it away, leaving things unspoken. And as unhealthy as I believe this to be, its a coping mechanism not just for them in their support but also for us.
Locking it all away is something else I feel strongly about. We live in a world where its deemed stronger to “get on with it” to “move on” We tell our children all the time when they cry, “Don’t be silly, stop crying”. We hug a grieving friend, saying “It’s ok, don’t cry” We feel uncomfortable when we witness a grown man in tears, BUT WHY??? This idea of suppressing pain, suppressing emotion feels so unnatural to me, so alien, and I know deep down it does for you too. If I could gather all the grieving souls in this world together, and place you all in one place of love, light, and connection I would in a heartbeat. A place so safe to you that you could grieve, and grieve and grieve. Letting everything that needs to flow, flow. Letting the waves of pain crash through you, releasing everything you need to within that moment. Sharing our journeys as one, surrounded by support and love. A place we can all just be.
We won’t ever get over the loss, we won’t ever feel the same again, how could we? Our worlds will of changed forever, but we can heal, we can use our words, we can speak their names every single day. We must express our grief, we must talk about the pain, we should talk about the good too. I do this, I talk as though my dad is still here, I speak as though he’s a part of my world now, and to be honest to me, he is. The number of people who know me not so well, who forget for a split second that he’s passed and say, “I’ve got to meet your dad he sounds amazing”, ‘I’ve got to take your dad for a drink and sit and listen to his stories” With me quickly reminding them, as much as we’d bot love that, It can’t happen as he’s no longer here. But this is what I mean, don’t allow the pain you’re in to forget the joy of them. Let those painful moments come, let them move through you and let them leave. Don’t ever feel alone, don’t ever keep it all in, you must share, you must speak their name.
Let’s remember them. Let’s talk about them as though they are still here. Let’s take moments out of our days to sit in stillness, listening to their messages. Yes, we can’t see them physically on the earth but we know without a doubt their heart, their light, their undeniable loving energy walks with us, by our sides every day. I’m honestly behind anyone reading this, yes there’s many of you I do not know, and I’m unlikely to ever meet, but I’m so with you. I see you in your grief, you’re not alone, we are all here together.
It’s not a path we would have chosen to walk, it’s not the life we wanted to now live in, but it is, and that can’t be changed. This is not a journey to walk alone, we all have a unique part to play. Alone we can only do a little, but together we can do so much more. If anyone is ever feeling isolated, lonely, forgotten, please reach out, I am here. None of us are doing this alone, none of us will forget, we can do this together.
Love to you all, always,
A section from the book “The Gift”
The gift of the story you never got to write- By Phoebe Young
Stare up to the stary sky, watch the sparkle shine from within the stars. Take a deep breath, feel that breath. Feel that gratitude for all the memories and moments you’ve been able to make with those you love most. The earth is a magical place ….if you take time to notice.