Day 6 of my 40 Day challenge!
I’m really excited to be able to share a number of people’s stories in the coming days and weeks, thank you to all those who have already agreed. There’s still plenty of room for more contribution, so I’d love to hear your story…
Today my amazing wife Hannah has written about her experience of living through grief. Thank you so much for sharing this Hannah, you truly are an inspiration to me in so many ways…
As I drove up the M23 this morning on my way to work, I caught flashing lights in my rear view. I rather suspect many commuters immediately think of the inconvenience of traffic delays and lateness to work. My thoughts race like this: has there been a crash? Is someone/ people injured? Are their next of kin about to be contacted? Thank goodness it’s not me and it’s not my family who get the worst news. A few minutes delay to my journey is of no consequence. The police car then overtook and only moments later, I saw its destination: the four slightly battered cars on the hard shoulder and all passengers seemingly okay. [And breathe.]
I need no such reminders of the dangers of the roads today. Today, the 6th March, is a sad day for me. Sixteen years ago today, someone I dearly loved died in a road traffic collision. And my world forever changed.
At the time, my grief was so overwhelming. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep. There just aren’t the right words in our lexicon to express the depth of feeling. It was such a lonely, fearful place. But I came through. I lived in the valley of the shadow of death and I am no longer there. How did I get out? Time, my friends and family, and my faith.
How does this bereavement effect me now? Sixteen years on, my grief has gone. But the significance of today dwells within my subconscious. I find that in the days leading up to the anniversary, I often feel unexplainably low. Although I don’t feel like it’s particularly on my mind, I don’t sleep well. Over time, I have learned to accept the sadness of today. My loved one lost his life early and that’s never going to be okay.
My thoughts on grief: I don’t understand why death is still such a difficult subject to talk about. Bereavement is something that we will all experience at some point. And yet people can struggle to even use the word “death” or to name someone who has died. People have often said to me, that they are concerned that they will upset the person who has been bereaved. But thing is when you have lost someone: you are already upset, you just don’t always show it outwardly. In fact, I think we get pretty good at hiding it. It’s always nice when people show kindness, and most of the time, people love to talk about their loved ones. So, may be we could all help improve each other’s mental health in bereavement, by getting over our British awkwardness and simply asking how the bereaved is getting on, or asking them to talk about their loved one, and really listening to their answer.