As another month passes, I notice how my mind seeks to organise itself around the grief I will doubtless remain conscious of for a long time yet. It comes and goes, ebbing and flowing. Arising sometimes predictably and at other times, quite without warning. These days, it is a gentle sadness. A recognition that she is no longer. That we will never again greet one another in that old, familiar way.
Life, of course, continues. Change envelops me. And my mind does its best to keep up. My mind, I can now see, is working over time to ensure I stay alive - not in the physical sense, but at an emotional level. My mind is capable of keeping me on track and does this by organising my thoughts now that the shock has subsided and I adjust to the reality of my loss.
I no longer think about her morning, noon and night. I recall memories at will, and am pleased to do so. They give me comfort. I am haunted no more. The way the mind manages grief over time means that whilst we do not ever leave our loved ones behind, we are able to manage alongside the loss we bear. There is no lessening of the bond, but a strengthening of our confidence that we can bear up and look ahead.
Our ability to survive in this way speaks nothing of the quality of the relationship with whomsoever it is that we have lost. It is, instead, a testament to our resilience and should be taken as such.
We need not wear our grief as a tabard; it is there and we carry it in different ways. Some days it weighs heavier than others. When working well together, mind and heart lend one another the mutual support necessary to carry us forward during the working through of any loss.
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Henry Scott Holland