This is another in my series of blogs about the grief process and how it changes over time, the aim of which is to help others in the same situation. I am now 17 months post the death of my brother and almost 12 since the death of my father. So scroll on by if this is not your bag.
Obviously, things have moved on and the grief is not as raw as it was at the beginning.
How It is:
I was a lot closer to my brother than to my father (nothing against my dad, but that’s how it is/was) so I still feel his loss acutely on some days. I still think of him every single day, and I still do things to memorialise him. For example, I am just about to publish another of his books, which should be out by Yule/Christmas time. Small things tend to hurt the most now like a small child introducing me proudly to “her big brother”, and thinking “I don’t have one any more”. Sounds pathetic, but that is how it is. And that is the reality of how I feel.
I honestly don’t think there will be a day go by where I do not think of him in one way, shape or form. Deep down I don’t believe I want that day to come either. And because I don’t want it, it won’t.
I can say that it changes over time and the pain becomes less ‘sharp’, so if you are reading this in the early stages, things will change and get easier.
Where I’m At
Emotionally, I am not too bad in terms of the crying aspect of grief. I still suffer from bouts of depression, particularly if I dwell on the fact that apart from my sister and myself none of my birth family are alive any more. No matter how many other people you have in your life, that is still a feeling that makes you feel somewhat vulnerable.
Probate is still ongoing, I am still having major stress from idiot financial companies who cannot seem to provide one figure to a solicitor in time for a completion date on my brother’s flat. This is now entering it’s 13th month, and the last chat with my solicitor involved the possibility of removing the flat from sale and returning it for repossession. This is a major cause of increased stress and anxiety. Plus I don’t see it ending anytime soon.
A word on the importance of other people’s attitude towards an individual suffering from grief:
There is no set end time to grief. Despite appearing to have gone back to normal, getting on with things, and so on, my worst issue at present is anxiety. I have days where I feel so anxious I don’t want to go outside. Driving can be a complete nightmare for me. I cannot be around anyone who is likely to rain on my parade, because any form of disapproval or negativity sends me into the beginnings of panic. Even snide remarks on Facebook can on my bad days practically reduce me to tears. This has been going on for at least 9 months. I feel bad because I am unable to be as supportive of others as I would like to be and I know that often they don’t understand that this is not unwillingness, I just don’t have the reserves left in me to take on board other people’s issues. I am on medication which I don’t want to take because it’s addictive so I keep it for emergencies and rely on herbal remedies instead.
Telling people about this produces 2 responses in the main: supportive from most because I hide it well and mostly they are surprised to hear it, but from the minority the (spoken or unspoken) accusations of being an attention seeker. Believe me, if I could click my fingers and have this anxiety leave right now I’d do it. I’d rather seek attention for doing good things!
I’ve received a lot of support from most people, but the minority continue to make life difficult either by passive aggressive remarks, thinly veiled accusations of profiteering from my brother’s death (God I wish! With an estate with a deficit of tens of thousands I don’t think I am going to be moving to the Bahamas any time soon!), and other cruel and unnecessary things that happen from time to time.
I guess what I am trying to get across here is that if you are suffering from grief be easy on yourself, healing takes a lot more time than either yourself or others believe, and if you are around someone who has lost a loved one remember that often people still need your support months or years after the event, but they just don’t tell you.