Grief at Christmas
Haven’t written in a while. Don’t really know what I think about anything.
I feel slightly broken and frazzled and just trying to find little pockets of sanity wherever I can. Mainly in art. It’s my main distraction.
To write that this is my second Christmas without dad is factually true, but really, I had no idea what I was even doing this time last year. We’d just had the funeral, I was in the horrific, deep shock of his sudden death, somehow surviving on auto pilot, coffee, junk food and wine. Heading into this Christmas feels consciously like the first one really without him.
Everyday I feel the echo of his absence in everything, from the smell of mud from his dog walks, to the way the sky looks at twilight, to more obvious things like music, films, and food. Last year, I couldn’t get through an hour without the kind of properly losing it where you cry like an animal and can’t breathe. This year I can and I don’t know how I feel about that.
I don’t want to say that it is getting easier because in the aftermath of my Dad leaving us, people would say that it would, and that would make me very angry. I didn’t want to hear it. I genuinely thought I’d feel that level of gut wrenching upset and bitterness forever, maybe I even wanted to at points. I thought I’d never be ok again or even want to be.
I’d feel that in things getting easier it would mean I was letting him go somehow and that would completely break me. I’d feel conflicted and guilty having the less bad days of pottering and faffing about being able to function without completely losing it.
But, I seem to have actually got to a point where day to day things do not feel as horrendous. I don’t know if this will last, I’m sure the waves will crash on me again. All I know is that Grief has changed the way I approach the day to day expectations I have on myself. Each day I open my eyes with caution, and don’t over do it. That seems to work for me at the moment. I try to keep a bit of a routine, exercise, eat, nap, I never quite know whether seeing an advert or someone walking down the road who looks like him will choke me, but I can breathe through it. Maybe I just can’t live in the pain of so much grief constantly anymore. I even see flashes of my old self. I see who I used to be through the fog, but I am definitely not a person I recognise anymore.
I still feel it’s completely unfair that he’s gone, and want to talk to him about absolutely everything from the madness this year; from Boris’ terrible hair, to running out of loo roll, lockdown recipes, and apologise for being a moody teenager.
So we will get through Christmas without him, missing him, and feeling like he should be with us and he is not. I hope wherever he is, he's drinking, eating, and laughing. I'm sure he's wanting to be with us too. I just wish it could come true.
I’m also incredibly aware that I’ve spent most of my grief in lockdown, which happened about 4 months after he died. So the way I’ve learned to cope will probably change again when the world opens up. I don’t know how I feel about that either.