‘Tick Tock’, Tick Tock’-no not the popularised algorithm, ‘Tik Tok’ of the Lock-down of 2020! No this is my brain, my heart and body counting the hours, days, minutes and seconds to that day–the day my life changed, my world changed and the world around me changed. I thought the first year of losing Jack was hard enough, getting through all those ‘firsts’, like it was a tick list a To Do. Mother’s Day, Birthdays, mine and Jack’s, Easter, summer, Halloween, fireworks, New Year and of course the Anniversary. Not that I refer to it as an Anniversary-‘Crap-versary’ more like. The dictionary definition states “a day we remember or celebrate something important that happened on that day in a previous year”. Whilst I can see this as an excepted definition, it is not for me a celebration-nor will it ever be. Maybe one day I will find a term that will fit comfortably with me.
I write and reflect on my own experiences and feelings as we all grieve our loved ones in different ways and what I have learnt is that there is no wrong or right way in which we do this.
It is not to say that the first year wasn’t the most difficult, of course it was-I lost my only child, my feelings were so intense, I didn’t even know what day it was, time had stood still-although each day brought night, and each night brought day. There is no script for this, how can there be when the death was unexpected and out of order of how it should be.
The second year I had begun to process and realised this was my life and I had to relive and go through all those ‘firsts’ again and again, only this time it was real and I knew what was coming…….
It was not my life; how could it be? An ethereal world that lives on only in my memory.
Intellectually I know Jack is never coming back, however the pain of that truth is so unbearable, my thoughts and mind told me Jack was just somewhere else at a friend’s, living abroad, anything but the truth. I pushed it away to be free of the pain and that’s how I survived-I lived on the peripheral of society, I did my job, I came home, I cleaned, I busied myself, took myself off to places, countries, anything to escape the truth. To the outside world, I was coping, I wasn’t lying in bed, not getting dressed or showering, I was getting up every day facing the world, strong and courageous (as people said I was).
Until the day-grief caught up with me, the triggers, smells, places, songs, photographs, images that I couldn’t bear to see. Avoidance became my friend and we did well together, until they let me down and we no longer became friends and the ‘truth’ bit me on the proverbial arse.
Pushing the hurt, the trauma only brought about more pain and suffering, a myriad of entangled emotions too painful to describe-I didn’t want this life and I was exhausted by it, so much so I contemplated ending my life so I could be with Jack, that’s all I wanted…..
So before the panic sets in and you think Im in danger, please listen on as this is not uncommon when you have lost a child. The group I belong to (not a group you see yourself in I assure you), The Compassionate Friends. I can share my deepest feelings of grief, my sorrow, anger of why Jack and why me? Without feeling judged, they too have felt like me, to end the pain to be with their son or daughter.
Year two and three have been a combination of therapy, diagnosis of anxiety, PTSD and depression, again not uncommon after a trauma such as this. A Disconnection, being cut off from something we innately need, but seem to have lost it along the way. I was fortunate in that my employees were extremely supportive and arranged private therapy and time off to take care of my broken heart.
The day is the 6th January 2021, and as mentioned I can feel and have felt this sense of feeling fragile and lost. Four years ago today was my last phone call with Jack, before I received the devastating news the following day. The triggers are all there, I can feel them, however with treatment I can regulate and go with the pain now and respond to what I need and my body.
I recognise this has been a challenging year as it has been for all of you during the Pandemic and will continue to be so for many months ahead. I Liken the Lock-down to my own grief and the words expressed by some ‘the new normal’, is what those who have lost a child already feel, this is our ‘new normal’ and will continue to be throughout our lives.
I hope by sharing my personal reflections- may help you to somehow cope with this ‘New Normal’. You will get through it as I am having to and you will cherish the times of being with family and the hope that you will see them again soon, alas. I will not. I think of all those who have lost loved ones through this virus and not being able to say goodbye-I share that pain.
“That which we cannot understand can never be described” This came from a book I was reading, referring to love. I feel you can interpret the same for Loss. People who are grieving are often without words to describe how they feel when asked. I respond that I don’t understand how I feel, therefore cannot describe it to you.
As we are unable to hug or hold one another, we can still help each other by sending a message to say you are thinking of them a card, flowers, a remote hug anything to reach out to people in pain can help as I bear witness to, Grief is so often a lonely journey.
Remembering Jack and all those who are no longer with us and reach out in the best way you can.
Love Always Maz and Jack xxx
Yellow Flowers are what Jack would always buy me xx
Compassionate friends Link: www.tcf.org.uk