The Pain of Grief

It has been five months since my life changed completely, since the foundation of everything I knew and believed crumbled, since my life was stolen the day the love of my life’s was.

There is no name for this pain. I cannot describe it. Language betrays me when I attempt to form the words to share it. It feels both overwhelming and hollow like the world stopped being a good place. I feel my sense of hope, belief and strength or sense of the universe has deserted me. I can’t put this pain into anything. There’s no song to scream it into or film that depicts it or book that understands it.

It is a nameless pain.

A pain which takes on so many forms and yet is so formless and all consuming. A pain which people try to tidy into a neat grieving process. There are words which make you realise how much we have failed to understand this suffering… Bereavement, grief, widow. These words do not do justice to this pain. The all-consuming nature of this and severity of the ever changing emotions that hit you like someone has punched you in the gut cannot be summarised. The world feels completely meaningless.

It is hard to tell you how much I am grieving for. I am not only grieving for the love of my life, my best friend… but my whole life. My life was stolen. I am grieving for the life that I had my heart set on, that I loved and I was so completely over the moon happy with. My future has gone missing. I am grieving for my partner, for his life and all the experiences that he should have and he deserved. I know of the things he dreamt of. I am grieving for the marriage we wanted and for the children that were meant to be. We had already named our first girl. I am grieving for every hope and dream for the future that we shared. I am grieving myself. I will never again be that happy person I was, something has fundamentally changed within me. I am grieving for my present, for my past and for my future. I am grieving for the axis of my whole world. I am grieving my belief system. I have lost my grip on what I even believe in in terms of life after death, the core of me has been shattered.

My life vanished. I try to see a future and all I see is emptiness.

Experiencing a close death as someone who is not religious is much harder than I could have imagined. I used to feel comfortable not knowing any of the answers of the universe, yet now I find myself begging for answers and having none. It is hard to talk about death when your own beliefs are an abstract idea. I always described myself as a ‘not religious but spiritual person’ and I found it hard to really say what that meant… to me it meant believing in the power of the universe, believing that there was no way we could tell if there was anything to life beyond our existence but believing that there could and might well be… believing in something, or hoping for something. It meant being open to possibility. I am scared now that maybe it meant attaching meaning to things that weren’t ever meaningful.

I have spent my new existence wondering around bookshops trying to find the one book that would explain and make sense of a world that would take someone so magical. The same way I have been staring up at the sky as if the stars could tell me something, as if anything had any meaning anymore.  All I do every day is fight myself on the idea of an afterlife and if it exists and what it could possibly look like. I cannot imagine one if it exists…. not a kind one or one that makes any sense to me. I cry in the shower every day and wonder if my baby knows I am suffering and then think if he does that’s a unkind afterlife but what kind of afterlife is it if they can’t see the ones they loved that they left on earth? I constantly question and forever have no answers. I try to imagine somewhere where he is happy. The one that kills me the most is imagining that he is just… gone. No afterlife, nothing. I cannot even handle that. I hope for an afterlife and it kills me that I cannot imagine one.

I have always been a person of hope. No matter how hard life has felt, I have had a fire burning in me. I can no longer feel the fire. Now all I see is a world that is cruel and pointless, heartless… emotionless.

People say the funeral is the hardest part but that’s not true. I was still in a state of shock and in a kind of unreal bubble through the funeral which helped me survive. Now five months down the line, the pain has really begun. I not sure whether it is reality kicking the door down but the pain feels so raw, much deeper and never-ending. It feels suffocating and anchoring. I would rather rip my skin off than experience another moment of this blackness. I cannot imagine an end to this nameless formless pain. Five months down the line and the idea of returning ‘back to normal’ seems to be in the air, people expecting you to somehow pick yourself up and dust yourself off and yet I feel more so now than ever that I have no future. There is no magical light at the end of the tunnel, the phrases surrounding normal and moving forward feel like acid to my skin. There is nothingness.

I have tried many ways of coping… I am in counselling, I have tried painting, I have tried collaging, I have thrown out a large amount of my belongings in a frenzy to clear my mind, I have drunk admittedly far too much, I have relied on sleeping pills to just please for the love of god, knock me out… there are some days where I find it hard to breathe and all I can do is give in, sink further into my mattress and stay curled up in a bed all day in bed. I have tried forcing myself out of the house only to find that I have developed anxiety issues and panic in crowds and feel very fragile to be around the normal outside world. When your mind is overwhelmed with sudden loss, it cannot take the sensory overload. Every day is a battle for survival which truthfully I don’t even want to win.

Writing has been my only solace… which is why this blog has been born.  Truthfully this is mostly self-indulgent. I have poured my words and heart out over my social networking websites since the 4th January, scribbling on my laptop at 4am when the world feels abandoned and I feel I can say how utterly despairing I find this new existence. I now find I want to order my thoughts, somehow.

I hope maybe writing them down somewhere formally will organise them in my mind and will help my closest friends be able to understand my pain by reading. I also hope that my words, no matter how despairing at times, might find someone else who has had their life ripped apart. I have found it comforting to read others words and know I am not alone in all these terrifying feelings. If you’ve just lost someone, you are not alone, and these overwhelming emotions are normal. I promise.

8 thoughts on “The Pain of Grief

  1. Wow, you are spot on. I lost my husband in May, and thought I was alone in my grieving. Thank you for being so honest, I am relieved to know that my grief is OK. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but at least I know there are others who understand. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, again, these could be my words exactly. You have really described these feelings so well. I am just over 3 months in and I feel so similar to you. I grieve the same things, I wonder the same things. I speak about my life in the past tense as I feel like the living dead. We also weren’t religious so I don’t know where Dan is now, if he sees my pain. Obviously I hope he doesn’t. I tell myself he lives in a parallel time, a time when he is with me, but obviously that’s just what my brain tries to believe to make me feel better. I really don’t understand the point of this world. I have a toddler, so reason to get up every day. For that I realise that I am ‘luckier’ than you. But seeing his pain, watching him do all the things I thought I’d share with his Daddy, is such pain. If I’d known that pain could feel like this, I’d never have wished to bring another person into this world. I have no words to bring comfort I’m afraid, but sending you hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi again Meave and thank you for another sweet comment. There is no ‘luckier’ in this I think, just different, but it’s sweet of you to acknowledge this difference. I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch your boy grieve. How are you doing now? I realise this comment was long ago now. I hope you’re okay xxx

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