Grief sucks, but it gets better.

October 26, 2012
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A lot of people talk about the seven stages of grief. Denial, sadness, anger. I’d imagined they would be brief; discrete and a one-way-ticket from f***ed-up to normal. Little did I know that they could all hit me at the same time, or that they could repeat themselves.

When I was younger I lost my Poppa. Unlike a lost toy, or that $2 coin down the back of the couch, I couldn’t find him again. He was stolen from me through illness, stolen by cancer. I lost him in a way that means he’s never coming back. He was my best friend, my Pop. When I heard the news I didn’t believe them. They told me ‘He’s gone’ and when I asked where they would shake their heads. I didn’t understand. Where had he gone exactly? ‘To a better place’ was never the right answer. How could he be in a better place without all of his family, his friends? Me. When they told me that I wanted to scream, I wanted to crawl out of my skin, I wanted to punch the world in the face. Instead I curled up in over-sized nighties and lay on his side of the bed.

I had never known grief was not only a mental thing, but physical too. Like grief was an old friend, whose words made your heart ache and your chest tight. Someone who makes you reject every normal thing you had left; food, air, sleep.

Nana took me for ice cream that day. Like ice cream was some kind of cure. I believed that for a while, then I realised that I just enjoyed sugar. The lady at the dairy told me to ‘Have a good day!’ before we left, did she not realise that you had gone? How could the world keep spinning as if everything was normal, when nothing would ever be normal again? How could the birds continuing singing? How could people keep laughing and the sun keep shining and radio presenters continue making jokes? Shouldn’t they all just… stop? Stop and just be sad forever?

It’s been a few years now and I don’t think I’ve quite completed the seven stages. I think they missed out a few, like wanting to bang your head against concrete walls and vomiting, lots of that. I still don’t understand how to grieve, is there a correct way to do it? Sometimes I feel like he’s going to come back, walk in the door and ask me how I’ve been. Other times I realise he’s never coming back and I want to crawl into a big nightie and sob on his side of the bed again. I often find myself wondering if he would be proud of me, if I’d still be his little girl and if he’d still be my best friend, I like to think that things would have worked out like that. I have figured one thing out though; grief sucks, but it does get better.





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