Grief is such an acute and profound sorrow, it feels like swimming out at sea, far from the shore, unsure you’ll ever make it home, again.
You simply ache for the person no longer here, to hear their voice again, to laugh once more, to kiss and hold them, to enjoy the menial you took for granted and meaningful you lived for. It’s unfathomable to think you won’t again.
That chats about reality TV or family milestones will never be shared again. I can’t accept it and I’m not sure I ever will.
I appreciate there are several stages to grief and we’re only on page 1 at present, a huge mountain awaits we must climb aware that even when we reach the top, our hearts will never heal, the loss will never be recovered.
I spoke to my Auntie Zak (whom I recently lost to a rare form of cancer), almost every day last year. Whilst she lived in Marbella and I was here, we’d speak, laugh, put the world to rights, and bouy each other up in any way we could. Zak was a rock to me when another close relative was ill.
When I think of all the chats we’d have, me usually pounding my weary treadmill in the garage late at night, releasing stress, her telling me what she’d eaten for dinner or how hot it had been that day, I never once anticipated that time would be cut short for us, that within months, we’d never speak again.
I feel like I’m in a nightmare and want to wake up, life returning back to normal, all is well.
As with everything in life, I seek comfort in this blog, it’s purpose being twofold: a means to process and also to look back. I read through old posts of weddings, christenings, holidays and parties spent together, never more aware how much this online diary means to me. A family archive and memory keeper, here I’ve collated and curated moments my family and I can treasure.
Whilst grief feels like a war I’ll never win right now, like any adversity I’ve experienced in life (and this has by far, been the worst), grief has taught me lessons I shall not forget.
Firstly, that grief is love. Something I’ve been reminded of time and time again. That this deep pain reflects the love I had for my aunt.
Death has shown me what truly matters in life. People whom might have otherwise hurt me since Zak’s passing, have not. Great loss offers vital context. I never knew a silver lining would be possible at a time like this, yet here it is.
How saddening though that it takes tragedy to focus on what, and who, matters most?
Another lesson grief has taught me has been on friendship.
Someone warned me that you discover who your real friends are at times like this, and how right they were. Whilst I feel let down by someone I thought would be there to hold my hand, I’ve been completely overwhelmed with love and kindness from old and new friends alike, and of course readers of this blog and social media followers whose support has known no bounds. I’ve received emails on handling grief, FB messages of condolences and tweets, and even cards and gifts.
Others’ capacity for empathy, has touched my broken heart. Thank you all so much.
The greatest lesson in all this misery has been to lap up life and appreciate every moment. To be grateful for the good and the bad. To prioritise seeing friends and family more, to love boldly and unconditionally as Zachara did with all, and to place fun firmly at the top of the agenda in work and play.
To live life courageously and with heart whatever the risk it takes to love that way.
Earlier tonight I spoke to my close friend Lela London on the phone and before we hung up, she ended the conversation with these pearls of wisdom, ‘We just have to get out there and live out our beautiful, best lives, OK?’.
Yes to that. Life is beautiful… even if it doesn’t feel that way right now…
If you’re suffering with grief or any kind of loss, please know that you’re not alone,