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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Carry your grief lightly

I came back to this blog today. There is a story inside me that I want to tell, and lifting the lid on these pages, I realised that I had already begun to write it. I don't want to pick a new beginning point, it began when it began. So I am sure it will continue, as most stories do, with a new chapter (no need for another Title page).

It's quite a leap forward of course, from where I left off. Bean is no longer a baby, and Sprout - well, he's sprouted! In the turning of the years (three now, and the world is still moving) since our life tipped upside down, I have changed immeasurably. I have grown (and happily, also shrunk a little!) in many ways. I am now a coach, as I planned. Not for young people, although I did dip my toe in those waters in the early days. 

I am a Leadership Coach for Lone Parents. Women like me, and perhaps like you. 

It is one of the inevitabilities of the story of a life, that the chapter I left you with last time, has morphed into a prologue to my now. At the time, it felt like the bear hunt was all consuming - so much to get through! So much thick, oozy mud. But I have to remember, 'We're going on a bear hunt' is a children's book, after all. The pages pass much more quickly than you think they will and someday, you outgrow it. 

I'm resurrecting this blog, to tell a new story. I may also fill in a few of the gaps for those of you who might want to know what happened in the unspoken spaces. 

But before I do I want to share a reflection I had today about the nature of grief. It changes the view, as much as it changes you. Despite the distance gained from your loss it will always remain there, a landmark around which you orient yourself. The grief inevitably becomes a point on your internal compass - although I don't allow it to become my North. 

I think I always knew, from the very beginning of the bear hunt, that I wasn't experiening grief for losing the love of my life. The second I recognised him for who he actually was, the love was gone. extinguished as swiftly and completely as a candle wick pressed between fingertips. It burned a little, but left no lasting mark. 

The grief that has stayed with me, the grief I have learned to carry lightly, is for the imagined life I lost. The Disney story of happily ever after. The dream of a together family for my children to thrive in - the Mummy and Daddy story I told myself I would be starring in. That's not our story. Snuffing out the fire that burned in me for the belonging I wanted to feel - that burned. That scarred. That hurt. 

In as real a way as I carry a c-section scar, I carry a d-day scar. You can't see it, and I don't show it off (well, who wants to see scars like that in real life?) but it's there. Now and then I run my fingers over it, just to see if the lines have changed shape or faded a little. It's still here. I still feel it. Occasionally, it still hurts. But I live with it, and truthfully, I don't think I could imagine being me without it now. It is one of my edges, part of me just as honestly as my curves and softness. 


  1. Gosh, this resonates with me. I am in the midst of my STB ex divorcing me. I have refused the thought that the marriage was toxic for years, clung on to the concept of a happily ever after, the hope that in 20 years time this could be the blip that we wryly laugh about. Together, and stronger. And that's not going to be my story, either.

    I think that's the scar I bear, the scar of desperately wanting to belong, but not being accepted. However with the final rejection of divorce comes resolution, even if it isn't the resolution I hoped for. And a new way forward, a cleaner healthier way. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Hi Michaela, thank you for sharing where you are. I'm sorry you're going through a separation too. I was told something very helpful about grief when this all began for me, that I've reminded myself of often. Have you heard of the five stages of grief? Apparently they are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

      I have learned that this process is not linear. Each stage has been and gone and come around again, often returning when I least expect it. But as I navigate the ups and downs of the emotional journey, the peaks and troughs of those feelings have become less extreme.

      In the end, all feelings are healthy, when we allow them to happen naturally. I wish you every happiness for the future - take good care of yourself and your children, it will be ok in the end. (If it's not ok yet, it's not the end) X