As the mist rose

Last week we had a run of freezing weather. The kind that crept through the floor even with the fire roaring and the central heating pumping out. The kind where the sun doesn’t even seem to poke through the windows until almost 8, sparkling on the thick frost on the grass, trees and hedge outside. Once I got the girls off to school, I was driving down the freeway and you could see the day that it was going to be: sunny, blue, clear. A perfect winters day that charades as autumn.

As I drove through the small dips and gully’s of the road, I ducked in and out of the mist. From grey and cloudy to sparkling blue and perfection. The mist was rising and burning off, steaming the ground as it started to burn off. I had the most sudden realisation of grief and death, a real whack in the chest of another moment in this stupid grief journey.

It’s been a whole 17 months now since Rob’s Dad died. Grief has changed over the time, from being all consuming and shocking in its finality. It’s been wonderful and terrible: the way it brings people together, it brings clarity on what is important, a painful reminder of fragility. It’s been beautiful: the way you look and feel the person that has gone in certain moments. A song, a memory, you are reminded of all the good times. It’s been awful the way sometimes you just need to wallow in it and just swill it around in it. A scab that needs picking now and again, and now sometimes it’s harder to find just where that scab is.

The loss of a loved one is such a personal thing for every single person. I know at times the way I have grieved has made people uncomfortable. Surely she should be over this by now? It’s not like it was her Dad. Clearly she needs professional help. I have found it interesting to see how my emotions and expression can be a hard thing for people to witness? I am unsure why, still. I’ll do me. You do you. It has stopped me from writing about it much lately which is dumb isn’t it? I do know how much it has helped others as I have spoken about it. For people about to go through the loss, to those at the same time as us and to those even many years ago to know all the feelings we feel are unified in their misery. It’s always nice to feel less alone in life.

And last week as I saw that mist rising I was reminded in a painful way of my grief, of all our grief. I can feel him starting to leave us like that hard cold frost that burns off. And I know that even though a beautiful day is beyond the cold, that there is beauty in the cold frosty morning. I know he’s going because I don’t feel him around as much anymore. He’s in our memories and hearts of course, but that constant presence I felt so much in the early months is starting to go.

I watched that mist, I cried and I got to work, parked the car and got on with it and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day. Like we do every day. It is what it is: the loss, the grief. The future loss of what is to come for me with loved ones throughout my life. I am thankful again for the lessons that Alan’s loss has taught me. How it helps others, maybe it’s helping you? I am grateful for everything that he gave me in the years we had together. Some of the most amazing experiences of travel all around the world, some of the funniest stories. His generosity and humility. He changed our lives and many others and continues to do so, even when he is not here. So many things he gave me, lessons and praise and support, some that even my own parents are unable to give me. I am thankful and grateful and I miss him. He’s fleeting, that grief mist is rising and it makes me sad and happy at the same time. Just like stupid grief: a constant contradiction.

But tell me dear friends, especially those of you going through your own loss and painful journeys, how are you? Are you doing ok? Is your loss all consuming, a gaping wound that seems will never heal? Or are you sometimes picking at a scab that will bleed again if you pick hard enough?

I hope you are OK.
It’s going to be OK.

And for those of you with people you love happy and healthy and normal and in wonderful mundane life, tell someone who means a lot to you today that you love them. There’s not enough I love you and thank yous in a lifetime.

Comments

  1. I’m sitting hear tears rolling – we are in NZ and lost my beautiful sister in law to covid in the Uk in January. She had Down’s syndrome and we knew as soon as she got it that it was probably not going to end well.
    This was in the midst of the chaos over there and she was a few weeks away from the vaccine. They decided early not to intervene and my mother in law was allowed into the hospital for her final two days.
    She then went home alone in lockdown.
    It breaks our hearts, so much gilt that we should have gone back for a visit last year, that we can’t be there – and it comes from nowhere like you say. We don’t know when we will get back to the Uk snd the anticipation of how sad that will be without her is scary- Our darling Jane ♥️

  2. Grief certainly has a way of giving you a sucker punch to the gut Bev, just when you think it’s not as painful anymore it hits you. I always think of it as a reminder to remember how precious life is, not to take it for granted and get bogged down by the little unimportant stuff. Sometimes we all need a reminder . Xxxx

  3. So beautifully said and can only be written with the words you chose if you have experienced that deep sense of loss. Tears flowing here too as I read this… My mum would always say that death is so universal and yet so personal, so final… Don’t stop expressing yourself and writing about your journey, it helps those of us that are unfortunately on your same journey. I have had an odd life of too much moving and now in the Highlands with no community. Grief and loneliness all intertwined, the journey travelled alone. Your words are important to those of us that know… Thank you for sharing. x

  4. I lost my 42 year old brother to covid 5 weeks ago now.
    Within 8 days a fit healthy young man was gone. He died alone in a shitty hospital.
    The grief is immeasurable, the fear of covid is all consuming.
    My parents are destroyed and I don’t think they will come back from this.

    • Oh man, I am so so sorry to read this. Your poor brother. Your poor brother. It’s a tragedy. I can’t begin to imagine how you gives navigate this. I’ll just say this: it’s bullshit. Sending you love. I hope you are all surrounded by lots of support to help you get through. Thank you for sharing with us xx

  5. This is a beautiful piece of writing Beth. ❤️
    It’s been just over 2 yrs since my dad died, I miss him so much, some days it hurts. I understand what you mean about them slipping away, I feel that too. I feels strange as I hear of his remaining friends dying, to realise that soon there will only be a handful of people left who actually knew him. My mum died over 20 yrs ago and I can no longer hear her voice and struggle to visualise her now, that makes me sad, it almost feels as though she didn’t really even exist, just a story I tell my own children.
    Thank you for sharing your story it has helped me.
    Cheers kate

  6. Jacqueline Brinkman says

    I’m reminded of Nick Cave’s beautiful words which remind us all to be patient and steady when people we love are grieving. “Those who persisted, she will never forget, for to remain steadfast on the borders of another’s grief may be the greatest, most holy act of love one can perform.”
    It’s all time, in your own good time Beth.
    x

  7. Jacqueline Brinkman says

    I’m reminded of Nick Cave’s beautiful words which remind us all to be patient and steady when people we love are grieving. “Those who persisted, she will never forget, for to remain steadfast on the borders of another’s grief may be the greatest, most holy act of love one can perform.”
    It’s all time, in your own good time Beth

  8. They have to slip away & become less present in our lives or else we wouldn’t be able to move on. After my sister died all I could remember was how she died & all I could feel was her hand going cold in mine. These days I think more about how she lived & who she was, moments from our childhood. It feels less hard, still horrible but I don’t feel like I will come undone when I think of her anymore. I can laugh when I think of her, explain what she was like to my kids who never met her without my breath catching. That feels good & im pretty sure that my sister wants my thoughts of her to not hurt anymore.

  9. https://www.thepoke.co.uk/2019/02/24/ball-box-analogy-grief-went-viral-struck-chord-with-many-people/?fbclid=IwAR0wCt108lgM_utAEQymGLNNBDayJBb-D8NmRTTGmE8pq_MmA1_unC-UmYU
    This is the best explanation I’ve seen of grief & how it changes over time. Keep sharing – you write beautifully & with so much love. One day your girls will be able to read this and it will help them too.

  10. I love your posts on grief. They are genuine and loving and so helpful. Anyone who has concerns about others expressing grief has problems of their own they don’t even know about. My dad died 12 years ago, my mum 16 years ago and a beloved cousin died far too young more than 30 years ago. I miss them still, though I’ve been in the acceptance phase of grief for many years. Nevertheless, I’ve been missing my dad a lot during COVID-19, though I’m really glad he wasn’t here for it. I wish I’d talked to him more about his life before he became a parent. I have so many questions that will forever remain unanswered. But he knew I loved him and I knew he loved me, and these are very big consolations.

  11. Susan Buckley says

    Beautifully written Beth. It took me over 4 years to speak of my mother without being reduced to tears. My children vaguely remember her as they were 6 & 7 when she passed. I also lost my youngest sister on the same day as your father in law and my emotions are still in shock that she’s no longer with us. It’s good medicine to speak of loved ones that have passed and everyone is different in their grieving. Keep on doing what you do as I love hearing from you every day. You are a gorgeous human❣️

  12. Beautifully written post.

    I’m finding as my children are getting older (all 3 similar ages to yours), & losing my Mum last year to Alzheimer’s, there’s the grief (& anger) that she’s not here & my children miss out on having the best grandparent & then I’m also at an age with the fear of my own mortality creeping into my thoughts – wasn’t it just yesterday my own mother was my age, then she got old & sick & died in the blink of an eye! I’m not ready, I’m not ready for my children to keep getting older so quickly, for me to get older, for everybody to get older, I want it all to rewind or at least slow down!

    • When you work out that pause button let me know! Death and grief is a reminder of our own mortality and what’s important. A sad lesson of what’s really important in life, thanks for the reminder too x

  13. The loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things to go through. I have shared my story of losing both parents in the same week whilst pregnant with our first child many times. That was 32 years ago. I still go to call them or I still wake up thinking it was just a bad dream but life goes on. Mum died mothers day, so I struggle with that day. I speak to our kids and the words that come out are my mums words.I think about them everyday but life goes on. I was scared once to Beth. I was scared I would forget them but I think as long as they are in your heart, they will never leave your side. I actually had great comfort to think mum and dad went together. They were only 54 and 57. It sounds terrible I know, but it did make it easier. I know when your father in law passed I even shed a tear for you and I don’t know you. I know what you went through. It does get easier and he will always be with you in some form. Its your story. You deal with it how YOU want to. X

  14. Beth your words were so beautiful. I am going day by day with my grief. I lost my precious sister 5 weeks ago. My only sibling. My besty, my confidante. I’ve never been without my big sister. I miss her so much it hurts. Real pain. I never realized grief could hurt so much. We would talk several times a day, every day. When talking was too hard for her we would text. I miss that. Im sad that the weeks are passing by and she’s missing things. I know I’ll get used to her not being around anymore but at the moment I’m still reaching for my phone to text her…
    I see you with Lucy and I want to say treasure every moment but I don’t need to, because im sure you do. Xx

    • Oh Jenny
      I lost my big brother five weeks ago and I am no longer anyone’s little sister. I share your anguish, I just don’t have the eloquent words to even express it.

      My brain is on a loop, I keep thinking of him dying alone with no one to hold his hand, or tell him they love him. How we couldn’t save him.

      Our family is just destroyed and I know we will never be the same, I am not sure my parents will come back from this.

      Most of all I just miss him. I still go to text him, I wake up hoping, praying it was all just a bad dream.

      Covid is a bloody evil thing.

    • Oh Jenny
      I lost my big brother five weeks ago and I am no longer anyone’s little sister. I share your anguish, I just don’t have the eloquent words to even express it.

      My brain is on a loop, I keep thinking of him dying alone with no one to hold his hand, or tell him they love him. How we couldn’t save him. .

      My children are having nightmares and are terrified we are all going to die from covid. The youngest in kindy has started having toilet accidents at school everyday.

      Our family is just destroyed and I know we will never be the same, I am not sure my parents will come back from this

      Most of all I just miss him. I still go to text him, I wake up hoping, praying it was all just a bad dream.

      Covid is a bloody evil thing.

    • I am so so sorry Jenny. Sending you lots of love and strength as you get through that god awful time of shock, dismay and hurt. It’s bullshit and I am sorry you are going through it xxx

  15. Debbie Howarth says

    My husband of 36 years was diagnosed with secondary cancer in Feb and given 6 months.
    I am currently sitting in hospital with him for the second time in the last 4 weeks. 3 weeks ago they gave him 24 hours and he pulled out of it and came home for 10 days. I don’t think he will be coming home this time. It is avery sad time and we have been best friends for all of those years and the irony of it all is that he is the one who would comfort me in times of trouble but now I need to be strong in front of him. I don’t know how I will continue without him in my life.

    • Debbie, I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you both. This sort of pain is unimaginable, and yet we have no choice but to go through it. Biggest of big hugs, and may both of you be at peace xx

    • I see you Debbie. Your role is so important as you are walking the journey with him.
      Do you need to be strong or could you comfort each other? Just a thought, as he has ho doubt loved being your supporter over the years maybe he could do it a little now as you are supporting him
      I will be thinking of you and holding you both in my heart.

    • Oh Debbie, I am so sorry you are going through this pain and loss to come. Sending you lots of love. I hope you are surrounded and supported by people who will be strong for you too. Thank you for sharing x

      • Debbie Howarth says

        Thanks Beth,
        He did pass away the morning after I made this comment. I am so glad my daughters Nd myself were able to be there with him for that last night xxx

  16. Erica Murdoch says

    Beth, thank you. Your blog post was raw and honest and sad. My mother died 36 years ago and the hurt is still there. You never lose the sadness- somehow it just becomes easier to deal with. It’s a cliche that time is a healer but it is true. In the meantime, be kind to yourself. Everyone deals with this issue differently.

  17. Carmel Tracey says

    A beautiful post Beth. It’s nearly 6 years since I lost my Dad. The gaping wound of grief has been replaced by a scar. Unexpected things still make me sad but if we stayed overwhelmed by grief, how could we live? There was a beautiful line in an episode of Call the Midwife when someone was asked how they coped with grief and they said “You just go on living until you’re alive again”. I have found that to be so true.

  18. Michelle Stanger says

    I loved reading this Beth and am reminded that we all need to take the time we need to grieve. After losing my father just over two years ago and both my father in law and mother in law within three months of each other last year the sadness and tears come in waves that threaten to choke me or devastate me and render me incapable of functioning. That my two teenage boys are growing up without any of their much loved grandparents to share their joys and their stories is incredibly sad. Take the time to remember the joys of beautiful memories of time well spent together. And most of all, hold those close to you often and tell them you love them. Nothing prepares you for the enormous loss of close and dearly loved family and friends💕.

    • Thanks Michelle. I listened to a beautiful podcast on grief this week (This Amercian Life: Good Grief) and it talked about being in the grief, experiencing it, no matter how awful it is. This reminds me of that. Thanks for sharing x

  19. Kristine says

    So Beautiful Beth. My Nan was one of my best friends. She passed when I was pregnant with my first baby, now 7, and it breaks my heart that she never got to meet him. And that I felt I had to suppress my grief so as not to affect the baby. Silly right! I had my second baby a year ago and my Nans scent has been so strong and my little one year girl quite often points to my Nans picture and then off to the sunbeam and smiles. So I guess she has met my babies after all. Xo

  20. I lost my Dad at Easter, after being hospitalised for a month. We didn’t think this was the end. Our birthdays are a few days apart this month, and I’m….. not ok. I don’t even have words to describe it.

    • Oh Mel, I am so sorry. I hope you have people around to support you through this awful time. There are no words to describe the pain. I am sending you love x

  21. A constant contradiction indeed! “Missing” is the most difficult beautiful thing I’ve done. That realisation that the loss isn’t just about how we loved them, but somewhat more self indulgently how they loved us!!! An indulgence that feels like our survival depends on. Quenching that need to matter. No wonder it’s so consuming.
    Beth the way you link that to nature resonates with me so much. The metaphors in seasons, and light, and air, and rain, and sunshine, and mists…..they’re too perfect not to mean anything. It’s like Mother Nature is cradling us and reminding us that even when we have it all, there is more.

  22. Liz Wiig says

    What lovely words – thank you Beth. I lost my 19 year old daughter 6.5 years ago and it doesn’t get any easier at all. That raw, constant pain has settled but I still talk to her everyday in my mind and sometimes out loud and sometimes I cry. Sometimes, like it did with you while driving, it comes out of the blue and that pain takes your breath away. Like yesterday when it would have been Alice’s 26th birthday. And yes people question why I’m grieving still and I say I will grieve for her every day I am alive, for her lost future and ours. I miss her. But, I am still here, my other daughter is still here and my first grandson is soon to be here. I feel grateful to have had Alice for the short time we did more than I feel anger now for her being taken so soon.
    I love your writing / words / your take on life, keep writing please!

  23. Love your words Beth- a lot of what you’ve said rings so true! My Dad will have been gone 5 years next month, and while the raw grief is gone, there are times when my thoughts wander and I think about him and burst into tears. I’m happy this happens because I hope my Dad can see that I miss him so much and is not forgotten. I’ll always want to feel some pain of his loss because he meant so much!

  24. Renae Foottit says

    It would have been my husband’s 40th birthday on the 23rd of June. He died three and a half years ago and I find it hard to know how much to celebrate with the kids as they get older. The younger three have no real living memory of him, only the stories we tell. I know they are important and they love hearing them. I love how you write about Allan. And it absolutely does help us all ❤

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