I have written my blog for a few years now, off and on. Lately, I have been busy trying to focus on re-entering real life, dealing with real issues, a real job, real family, other stuff, and continuing to walk this new path of life. All whilst still missing Paul big time.
There are many and varied aspects of grief, and I have written about a number of them. Have I covered everything? Grief is all encompassing, all consuming and still touches every aspect of my life, day in day out. I realise it’s different for each individual person, but there is much commonality.
It used to be thought that there are 5 stages of grief. ‘Pass through’ and ‘deal with’ all 5 stages, and that’s it – you’re done! Nice and neat and tidy. I think anyone grieving will agree that’s not how it pans out in reality. More recently, there has been a growing recognition and appreciation that grief is a more complex process than a 5 phase model suggests. Simon Rubin’s ‘Two Track Model’ of bereavement recognises and measures the long term effects of grieving by assessing how well a person is adapting to their loss. The aim being for the person to adapt so that they ‘manage and live in the reality in which the deceased is absent‘. Sounds spot on to me.
To me, grief at its core is simply missing someone you have lost, and managing that missing. I miss Paul just as much (if not more) now than I did 5 years ago. I miss his daily presence, his love for and interaction with me and our boys, his silly humour and camaraderie, his incisive mind, his extreme musical talent, our chats about everything and anything, waking on a free day and asking ourselves ‘what shall we get up to today?’ – the mundane, everyday stuff. Mostly I just miss him. And because he’s rarely if ever mentioned by anyone other than very close family, the missing is magnified. Time passes, and people are now (understandably) oblivious to that ongoing missing.
Will the Missing ever stop? I feel like I oscillate between two polar positions: at one end, I make every effort to set aside my true emotions and get on with life in a positive way, thankful for all the many blessings I have, looking to God for my every need; and at the other end, I spiral right back to that all too familiar place where I ache for Paul, his presence, the person himself. Where I just long to hear his voice, feel his touch, spend a few minutes in his presence.
I belong to a large, vibrant, loving church family. Much has been taught there recently about being authentic, living lives which are real, not fake, being free to be the person God made you to be, not wearing a mask – “Come as you are”. I’m aware that very often I still wear my mask – forcing myself to hide my true emotions (well, it’s necessary to survive, right?). I have ‘processed’ my grief big time – but will missing Paul ever stop? Will the deep ache ever go away? No: Grief is that friend you never wanted, always lurking round the corner, ready to pounce at unexpected moments. But it has become part of the true, real, authentic me, and I have assimilated it into who I now am going forward. And that’s ok.