Like a dark mist it steals up to you, wraps around you, seeps through your pores, runs into your veins, invades your body and settles heavily in your heart. It paralyses your will, dulls your brain and darkens your soul. Grief has taken over.
The one constant person in my life was my Mother. I lived with her all my life. We had our ups and downs during my youth, but after I matured we became the best of friends. We shared a similar sense of humour and complemented each other’s shortcomings. We enjoyed each other’s company, had compatible lifestyles and tastes. We took care of one another and loved each other deeply. For the last ten years of her life she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease which was very painful for me as her primary care giver. I lost her so many times before losing her finally when she passed away three years ago.
I thought I had adjusted to being without her. Of course at first it was intolerable. But I deliberately worked on handling my loss. After a few months I thought I was through the worst part. But here I am, three years later, caught up unawares in a bout of grief so debilitating it has totally shocked me. I was right in the middle of it before I even realised what was happening.
It stared with a feeling of general malaise that I attributed to the weather, to being run down, to the general depressing situation of the country, or to just fighting off a cold. But it persisted. So, like the supposedly enlightened person that I thought I was, I went for a physical checkup. Everything normal except for slightly high uric acid for which I started taking medication. Then I realised that my acid reflux had returned, so I got on to that medication as well. I started to notice I was systematically gaining weight, so I started eating more! One day, while having lunch with my friends I dozed off! So I decided I was overdoing it and would take it easy for a day or two. But when the following week I went to church and out of the blue, in the middle of mass I found tears running down my face and I simply could not stop.
Getting home I started questioning myself, and realised the reason I was crying was because I missed my Mother.
Grief had taken over so completely and so quietly I was totally unaware of it until it suddenly burst in a torrent of tears. It was fully upon me. I was paralysed with it. After three years? Where did all this come from? I felt so lonely, so lost, yet I am surrounded by friends and family!
The realisation that grief was the root of my general malaise did not automatically vanquish it. I’m still struggling with my voracious eating and fighting all sorts of aches and pains, bad sleeping patterns and just plain exhaustion. But now I know why.
I guess it will have to take its time before it leaves me. I am just surprised by its intensity after such a long time. Maybe I suppressed it too quickly at the beginning and it has just come back because it could not be bottled up any longer. This does not sound very professional, but it is what it feels like. So I guess I shall have to finish the process properly this time if I don’t want a recurrence. I won’t suppress it any more. I feel like crying, I’ll cry. I don’t feel like socialising, I won’t. I will not hurry myself up to get on with my life as this does not seem like something that has worked out very well the first time around.
Grief is a very strange phenomenon. It can lay dormant for years then suddenly springs up in its full fury and wreaks havoc on my life. So I’ll just go with the flow and let it spend itself out at its own pace.
The dark mist is still thickly wrapped around me, my life is dark and heavy, but there might just be a slight lightening of the dark on the periphery of the mist. Only time will tell.