This is the first post after losing Trisha. Seeing those words still causes that now-familiar sting in the eyes and knot in my stomach. Three weeks on, I still don’t know whether and how much I should tell people. Do I get my disclosure in first, just ‘out with it’? Or should I keep quiet and wait for people to ask why I’ve a face like The World’s Most Slapped Arse Ever™? Do I wear my grief on my sleeve or not?
Is there such a thing as ‘good’ grief? I mean, is there a ‘proper’ way to grieve? I have no idea. Logic tells me there is no proper way to grieve, only a personal way that’s peculiar to each individual going through the process. (Is it just me or does ‘process’ seem like a very unseemly word to describe the sequence of emotions and experiences felt by the bereaved? It’s something that’s too human to have such a logic-driven, robotic word attached to it. Just thinking aloud.) So, why am I thrashing about, trying to figure it all out?
I’ve started to search out all things grief-related. Books, films, TV programmes, newspaper articles, websites, people on social media in similar circumstances….right now, I’d take runes and tea-leaf readings if I felt they’d help me find my way (I don’t, but as I get more desperate, watch this space). I’ve become a grief addict. Hell, I’m even watching Sleepless in Seattle as I write this. I daresay I’m looking for answers. The only answer I have for any aspect of life right now is “I don’t know”.
I don’t know where I want to live – as we live (live…lived, whatever…) in a rented bungalow specially adapted for people with disabilities; I can’t stay here, someone who’s been on a waiting list for goodness knows how long will need it. I don’t know about Christmas, I don’t know what I want to do in life, I don’t even know who I am (I’m the Bourne Widower!). For sixteen years, I was part of a whole. Now, I’m a part that’s adrift.
I don’t have any answers. I don’t even know what the right questions are.
This was the happiest day of my life. Today, I face the most painful. I must say goodbye to Trisha and let her spread her wings.
I miss you so much.
Trisha’s long struggle against MS has come to an end. She passed away this morning. I’m heartbroken.
It’s been four weeks since you had any food, yet I’m absolutely astonished by your resilience. I don’t know how you still have the strength to open your eyes.
I can’t help but assume that this is going to be a long, drawn-out decline. And I’m undecided whether this is a blessing or a curse. I can’t let you go but I hate seeing you suffer. We’re on your time now, sweetheart. I’ll take as much time as you want to give me.
How can you smile when I talk to you? I mean, I’m glad you do: it’s a sign that you’re comfortable, not in pain or distress. Despite what’s happening to you, your body failing you, you can still manage to move your lips into a slight smile. You’re not even fully conscious, yet you seem to understand what’s going on around you enough to react with a smile. At least, I like to think it’s a smile.
I smile. I smile at you, obviously. Only, mine is a weak smile. Not the full lights-up-your-face smile that you’ve always had. That you’re known for by everybody.
These days are a kind of limbo. Is it an adjustment period? Are you being this calm so we have time to process and prepare for what’s coming? That might prompt questions of spirituality. A spirituality I don’t have.
All my rationality tells me is that you’re comfortable, not in pain and not distressed. That this bastard of a disease that’s robbed you of absolutely everything is giving you an easier time at the end. It owes you that much.
I know the prospect of losing a child is harrowing but by being constantly on edge, looking for any evidence that the final moment is imminent, my mother-in-law is not making things easier for herself. Or Trisha. Or me.
Will I ever talk about her without crying? Will the hurt ever stop being this intense?
I know the answer is probably yes to both but I can’t see it right now.