(This story comes from my heart to your heart and is a part of a series of stories I have been working on about death and bereavement, partly from my own experience over the last few years and partly from elsewhere. Thank you for reading).
I can’t remember when I stopped crying every day. One minute it was a thing that happened and my face would get sore, and I was using so much extra cream to soothe my eyes, and then suddenly I realised I wasn’t crying every day. It felt a bit odd.
A bit like, you know, one extreme to another, crying and then normal. I don’t know what normal is any more. My friend Sylvie went from crying to depression. I took her to see the Doctor in the end, I was that worried, that’s how I know about all the stuff she went through when her Brian died. I ring her every day and she says the counselling really helped. I don’t think she likes doing it on Zoom though and she misses face to face meeting. I think we all do.
I’m not travelling on the bus anymore. The Government thinks I’m in an ‘at risk’ group. So, I’ve only been out for walks on my own. It’s a bit lonely, I miss the bus. Some of my best chats were waiting for the bus to come, people say all sorts when they think they won’t ever meet you again. I hate coming back to the house after my walk. It’s empty and in my mind I can see the ambulance taking him away. I can hear the oxygen hissing and his face worried and sweaty. I couldn’t go with him, just had to stay in isolation for 2 weeks in case I had it too. Frozen in time. Waiting for the phone to ring with news. And then nothing, no hope, just – he’s gone and I’m here all alone, isolating and sorting out a funeral and 30 years of marriage.
Grief is meant to be shared. People are meant to be together. We even had the funeral remotely, just me and the coffin. It did help knowing others were joining in at a distance, but it was lonely and my face was sore from crying. I want everything to be normal, I want him back the way it used to be and the world how it was. But we can’t go back and I don’t know how to go forwards. My grief is tangled up with how it used to be. We liked lockdown to start with and I know we were lucky to be sat in our little garden suddenly quiet without the traffic noise. I felt relieved at having everything cancelled – no bowls club or helping out with toddlers or getting to work. Just us together in our little house and I’m so glad for that time now.
Sometimes I panic. My grandaughter has been telling me about climate change and we’ve been chatting about things we can do differently. But then the grief and fear about the future roll together and I panic. I think, what would he say now? “Put the kettle on love, let’s have a cuppa. Then maybe you could help me choose which seeds to plant next”. So, that’s what I’m doing. He’s not see this summer, but I’ve planted his seeds and found the Dhalia tubers. The garden is watered with my tears. It’s full of flowers and bees. The traffic noise is back and I notice it when I take flowers to my neighbours. But I don’t hear it in my garden, just the insect hum and the scent of flowers.
“Put the kettle on love, and plant some seeds”.
copyright September 2020