I am grieving. That’s a personal thing- it’s emotional and physical and peculiar to me. I ramble about it here because that’s what’s in my head and you’re stuck with whatever that may be- the fun of reading a personal blog. If I were an artist, a storyteller, a joker, or an expert in food and pretty things, well then, I’d be writing something else. I’m only an expert in me, so that’s what I write about.
When the Old Man died, I cried in the car for half an hour each way to and from work and just tried to get on with things. I was much more involved with Herself’s illness and care and these days I don’t have a job to go to. The decorating will all be done soon. Everyone else will be back at school in the regular routines. Who knows how I’m going to deal with this one?
My routines will be different. My diary no longer says ‘book bus’, ‘pay cleaner’, or ‘meet social worker’. I don’t need to talk to the nurse or the carer or the taxi driver. I don’t get stressed chatting to Herself several times a week. I even miss not being able to understand what she was saying to me: she always had something to communicate. I miss hugging and laughing and just snuggling on the sofa.
I’m interested in reading about grief. I assume it’s because I want to know I’m normal, to know something about what to expect. Last week somebody on the internet pointed me in the direction of CS Lewis. I searched, clicked and a few days later these arrived. I’ve only had the brain power to open one so far, but I like having them. Not least of all because I recognised a lot of what I read. (Apparently it’s not unusual for the recently bereaved to throw themselves into redecorating- well, I knew about Macy and about me, but it’s a relief to realise that we fall within ‘normal’.) Words of wisdom and reassurance. I hope.
It seems there is a fashion for ‘grief memoir’ these days. A whole genre of writing on ‘me and my loss’. I don’t think I could make money at it- you have to be well known in the first place. It’s a memoir after all. (Is a personal blog a sort of memoir? Or is it the raw material for one? You may look forward to the time when, years into my fame, I’m using these posts and reflecting on life then/ now.)
In an article in last Saturday’s paper ‘Too much grief’, Frances Stonor Saunders notes that writers who turn writing about their grief into a project, may actually turn their grief into a habit. (I inferred a bad habit.) Rather than something awful, but natural, something that just is, a part of everyone’s life experience, instead through force of habit, examination and reiteration, grief can become ‘unnecessarily lengthy and agonising’. Digging your nails into your arms and bleeding? I hope I’m never so numb that I can only feel by hurting myself. I’d really rather just have a good cry. Not washing your hair for 10 days? Herself would have a fit!
So, worry not. I may mumble and moan and groan a bit here and there, but I won’t go on about sadness all the time. I will get on with this. With uncut arms and clean hair.