Friends made my grief worse

It’s a surprise I am writing this, to actually come to terms and address things is a place I didn’t think I would be or certainly not ready to express my emotions….. To be honest I’m not entirely sure what my emotions are but even typing this makes me think I wish I had done this sooner, not knowing not caring if anyone reads this but yet it just existing in front of me now, existing ‘out there’ whatever ‘out there’ is seems to already be helping….. I was too overwhelmed before to even talk to anyone, I still am really I couldn’t bare to stand up in front of a group of strangers and ‘tell my story’ just so they can sympathise and put a comforting arm around me, no thank you! But now that time has passed, typing away and letting what comes out seems…. correct and I think the word is comforting…. I now want to share my experience with, I guess I say, you...


It was an incredibly cold December -14c most of the time, I remember it so clearly, just so cold all the time. The type of cold that almosts eats away at you making you question when you finally take off your socks at the end of the day your toes will actually still be there…..  Fighting against this winters cold relentless ice white brightness was when I fell into my total darkness, the winter I lost my life partner.


How or why is not relevant, I promise you its not, once they are gone they are gone knowing how offers no comfort. I have discovered this by the helpful advice from people telling me to attend group bereavement sessions, seriously spending your evenings listening to how people have died is not fun nor is it helpful in equal measure….  but actually hearing the occasional person describe how I was or had felt really was quite comforting.

But what I never heard once thought was anyone say, ‘grief is exhausting’.

Well it was to me. Having to constantly be sad in front of everyone and be expected to take their worries and meaningful hugs with aplomb, it wasn’t sincere grief it was grief that was played out in books or films acting how you are supposed to act saying, ‘thank you it means a lot that you’ve come round’.... but thinking,’yeah just to stare at the less fortunate in life and aren't you glad it didn't happen to you’. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s how I felt. It wasn't until the door was closed and my phone turned to silent (I could never let myself turn my phone fully off) could I properly start to grieve.

There was no hysterics okay a few, but I was resolute relaxed and had wonderful conversations working it out in my head. I could still laugh, smile at ‘in’ jokes. I certainly wasn't moving on - I wouldn’t want to, that was it for me i didn't need or was going to find a replacement. Dare I say I was in a happy place.


Slowly my managed real grief was being overtaken, I began dreaded hearing the doorbell go or text alerts in the morning and having to get out of bed and face the day. I felt utterly overwhelmed and exhausted. I started to become quickly moved to tears but not because of my real grief because of this false grief the total overwhelming act this merry dance of grief that is expected of you.


After a while the constant visitors and well wishes took over me, the ‘act’ took over me and soon life felt so bleak. Getting out of bed in the morning, trying to take a deep breath and get through as much of the day as normal, working, watching TV. Suddenly out of nowhere I couldn't turn off the act… suddenly out of nowhere when the last friend had gone I still couldn’t put the sadness out of my mind. My sadness now felt apart of me like this is it, this is my new way of being.

Before this my real grief or what i thought was my real grief was acceptance of the situation i very early on accepted they were gone quite calmly i understood i wasn't bringing them back i wasn’t going to wake up in the shower and realise it was all  dream for instance…. I did have an enormous angry shouting meltdown full of rage at them, stupid idiotic thing to leave me type rage but i did accept they had and were gone. My grief was managed. My grief was personal. My grief was now quiet, and deeply deeply personal. I cried yes, I cried real grief tears over seeing their toothbrush once, but mainly I went to bed with a smile and fond fond memories.


My friends had no idea how they were effecting me,  I remember a friend came by one afternoon for tea and sympathy. I barely talked.  I'd feel overwhelmed with sadness and hopelessness that I'd feel like I couldn't move.


Writing down these words feels strange now. It feels so far away, now that a year has passed, but it was so all-consuming at the time. I felt like a totally different person no that’s wrong I feel like I should be I feel like my personally has finally returned something I thought would never happen. But overall, for two months, life felt really, really dark. I couldn't bear thinking about the future. Every day felt long and exhausting, and I couldn't imagine making it through all the days ahead of me.

It wasn't until I wasn’t the news of the day, the poor injured bird of the moment that needed taking care of to make everyone feel better about themselves, that slowly the friends stopped coming unannounced to make sure I was okay, the text beeps relented and the offers of making me dinner or taking me to ‘get out of the house’ stop did I finally start to become myself again.

I can't believe how in hindsight it was my friends that needed me to be depressed for them to understand the situation it was an awful experience one that i thought i wouldn't escape.

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