They say nothing lasts forever… Grief does.

Sometimes for no apparent reason a memory comes roaring back, interrupting thoughts and breaking your heart all over again. Today, while making dinner, grief came calling just as it did a few years ago when I first wrote this. Grief is a lifetime of pain, sometimes obvious, sometimes hidden but always there. Tonight the families of young Daniel and Ben are very much on my mind as are all who are grieving, whether their grief be days or many years old. There really is no ‘getting over’ grief.

We all wear masks. We lie every day, even to our loved ones, and often they know we are lying. It is easier that way.

Today I stood making dinner as the sun beamed in the window. I could see my husband outside working in the garden and my kids were around the house doing their own thing. To anyone passing I was a mother standing at the cooker. Nothing to see here.grief, death of a child

However standing in the empty kitchen I was in fact not alone. Voices and intrusive memories surrounded me, interrupting my thoughts,demanding they be let in. I could hear a phone ringing incessantly somewhere in my mind, and try as I did to ignore it, it just got louder and louder. Despite that voice in my head shouting ‘Don’t answer it’, I couldn’t resist. In a distant place I could see her name on the phone as the incoming call, and without ever leaving the kitchen I saw myself hurrying away to a quiet room, just as I did that day.

I answered the call, and for a brief moment I heard nothing. I quietly spoke her name, but all I heard was her sob before I heard her breaking voice, say, ‘They have made the call,’. Without fully understanding what she was saying, I knew it was almost over. A wave of sickness passed over me, and I joined in her tears.

Reliving that dreadful day, with fury I chop the veg, as that voice in my head continues to tell it’s tale. I listen to a conversation I have revisited so often in the past year and I  hear myself ask quietly, ‘Can he come home?’.  ‘Yes’, was the heartbreaking response, and as I heard it I began to cry again, but this time in real time.

Back in reality I left the cooker and picked up Daniel’s photo, which smiles out at us from the dresser. The mischievous grin, the vibrant boy I remember so clearly. In that moment I felt an enormous wave of so many emotions engulf me and the train that is grief hit me hard. Why? How? Can this really have happened? Could he really have died? ‘Is he gone forever?’. And looking into his smiling very young face… grief won.

Just then the kitchen door opened and my daughter walked in. I quickly returned to my task in hand and felt somewhat relieved. The spell had been broken. I was back in control again, and that unwelcome beast that is grief, was locked up once more.

Seeing my tear streaked face my daughter asked, ‘Are you okay?’, and I answered ‘Feckin onions’. We shared a smile. Both of us happy with the response.

Except there were no onions in today’s dinner.


photo credit: ~Oryctes~ via photopin cc

photo credit: Juliana S. Heart via photopin (license)

22 thoughts on “They say nothing lasts forever… Grief does.

  1. Your “feckin onions” got to me too. It’s so strange that even though the circumstances of my losses were quite different, I can nevertheless see and feel everything you describe here. As much as we talk about grief and as much as we feel the same loss it remains something we return to in our more private moments. Even though it’s an experience so many unfortunately share, it’s also a very personal one.

    1. Yes it is all that exactly. You have summed it up so well. And even though all our grief is different and some more tragic and enormous than others, it stays with each one of us daily and sometimes we control it and other times it gets the better of us.

  2. it will always come back in waves, just like the sea. the waves will come less often with time, but they will never stop coming to shore. they lived, they were loved, they are missed, and they will never cease to exist in the sea of hearts whose shores they have touched.

  3. You are right. We never stop grieving. Although it may not come as often, it still comes. In 4 weeks, it’ll be 4 years since my step-father passed and the memories of his final days are constantly with me. I can still see myself combing his hair… I’m sorry for your loss and for everyone’s. It is not easy.

  4. Beautiful, heart aching and oh so very true. I often relive my phone call too, it’s a call that will never go away.

  5. Grief never goes away, it just becomes part of who we are, an extra layer that we wear every day. Sometimes we wear it lightly and sometimes it feels so heavy we can scarcely bear it. But we do, don’t we? xx

  6. You have much to offer.
    Grief does subside. It helps if you befriend it.
    One of the Buddhist poets said “Enjoy your grief. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.” But it may be too soon for you to consider this. It has been a long time since I had the same or similar loss as you.
    I say it again, you have much to offer.
    The very best, Diane

    1. Thank you Diane. I can’t imagine Grief as ever being gone but maybe I’m misinterpreting it? Maybe it’s the intense early grief you speak of which settles?
      My sympathies on your own loss.

  7. One of the best books I read on the subject of how to overcome deep grief was A Grief Observed by CS Lewis. It’s a classic in the literature on loss. Short, less than a hundred pages. CS Lewis, if you aren’t familiar with him, is a highly respected author of many books on spirituality and the Narnia Chronicles. I highly recommend buying a copy and underlining passages that have meaning for you. The very best to you, Diane

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