Beyond Bereavement: One Year On.

 

Tomorrow, 26th March, it will be one year since my Grandad’s death.

The different stages of grief have carried me along over the course of the past 12 months, sometimes with a sense of numb finality, other times with a punctuation of loss that makes it hard to catch my breath, yet, at all times, with a sense of overwhelming fortune and love to have ever had such a marvellous man in my life.

I made changes to my life because of the stages of reflection that I went through. I put even further renewed energy into a career that I simply love, I ended a friendship that I discovered had been false, and I took a lot of time to be extremely thankful for the little things. I looked at people through different eyes, and I gave a lot of thought to those that I respect, and those that I do not.

The year has not always been plain sailing, but it has been one that was full of joy and love; both fulfilling and rewarding. My mother got married, my husband and I finally booked a long-awaited trip to the Big Apple, and I made several new friends, including some amazing colleagues who are simply mind-blowingly, inspiringly good at their jobs, along the way.

I also saw different sides of other friends, and realised that few people really stand by what they say; the human capacity for bullshit and self-denial is dark fathoms deep . I learned that sometimes staying silent is more powerful than having the last word, and I also realised that – as opposed to when I was younger – much of this was simply water off an older duck’s back.

I think of my Grandad all the time; our laughs, the hands that held me and which seemed as strong as a bear’s when I was tiny, the tales that he would tell and the advice that he would give. The grief will never pass, yet, because of the love that I had and have for him, I have had a truly happy and fulfilling year: the oxymoron of grief. So very different to when my father died 27 years ago, but then my Grandad was at an age when death was expected, and life had been full.

So, to those who supported me, thank you so very much. To those who didn’t, hey ho. And, equally, to those whom I couldn’t fully offer my own support in this last year, I apologise. But, just this once, I hope you’ll agree that the selfishness  was justified.

There are lessons to be learnt in grief, just as there are lessons to be learnt in life. Hopefully you’ll work out what & whom to truly appreciate via the latter, thereby showing your appreciation, and making your wisest choices, before the former catches up with you.

“We were together. I forget the rest.” Walt Whitman.

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