It can be a lonely road to travel, even when people are constantly around you.
It is hard for others to understand how I feel, and hard for me to know how I should feel.
Guilt seems to be the over-riding emotion – guilt tinges everything I did and am doing.
I wonder if I did the best I could – I can pinpoint instances that I maybe didn't do right.
I wonder if people are looking down on me or thinking I am cold because I am not 'broken'.
Yes, I have suffered the loss of both parents in an incredibly short space of time -
Should I be in a heap on the floor, inconsolable, in bits?
Should I be the strong person that I appear to be – nonetheless, wanting to repeat myself constantly?
Should I just repeat myself even though I know I am doing it? And should I keep apologising for it?
There seems to be no guidelines for bereavement – we are expected to deal with it 'the best way for ourselves'.
Am I supposed to be comforted by 'at least they are together' comments?
Am I supposed to burst into floods of tears when someone says 'sorry for your loss'?
Is it wrong to feel the best comments are 'I don't know what to say' – because that seems to be the heartfelt truth?
I travelled the journey of end-of-life cancer with my mother – a distressing trip, relieved by death.
Then I watched my father lose his mind completely, also relieved by death.
Why should I feel anything other than relief – not that they are together, but that neither of them are suffering?
If I felt I wanted them still alive, I think it would be a selfish wish – it would not be for them, but for me.
Do I miss my parents?
Every single day.
Do I think about them?
Every single minute.
Do I want them back?
Not at all if suffering was to be their fate.
Do I regret anything?
Of course I do, and I live with guilt that I hope will fade in time.
Do I need the love and understanding of others?
I'd like to think not – but I know that wouldn't be true... I need the love and caring, the understanding is an exclusive club whose members are myself and my two siblings.
I had my parents for 56 years, and for that I am grateful and know I am among the lucky ones.
Grief is handled in many different ways, and the expectation of others is often the yardstick on how grief 'should' be handled – I am not handling it in the expected way, but people should not think it isn't there, because it is, it is all consuming in its own way, but for me it is an inward rather than outward emotion, but really not bottled up. I will suddenly start talking about my parents – both their lives and their deaths – good friends listen and say nothing – that is the best kind of friend.
My parents deserve their lives to be celebrated – we have mourned their deaths, now we try to remember the good times and bring back the wonderful memories they gave us.