The death of a loved one is a traumatic experience, even when that death is expected and brings a welcome relief from suffering. As many of you know, my Mum died a few weeks ago. She’d been unwell for many years – in pain, and with compromised dignity and quality of life. It was awful and inhumane to allow her to suffer for so long, and yet her death fills me with sorrow.
Rage and grief are dark friends.
I’m no stranger to the death of people I’ve loved. Great-grandmothers, grandparents, my dad, and friends, both young and old. I thought I knew grief.
Then my husband died, and grief became physical.
I drowned in it. It stopped me. I changed.
No one else understood my grief, so, I began writing to explain what I felt. All my darkest thoughts spewed out, filling pages with furious steams-of-consciousness. When I read them now, they terrify me. They’re too raw, too wild, too much.
It took a couple of years to wrestle control of my writing – to create stories, rather than just unleash my emotions. It’s taken many more to refine my craft and become confident in my voice. I’m always working to improve my prose and have even been exploring poetry as another form of expression.
This fresh wave of grief has once again stopped me.
Mum’s death caused me to revisit the dark pit, which always abides within me. My husband haunts the fringes of my dreams, his presence just out of sight. I find my breath hitching at unexpected moments. I’m untethered and adrift – not quite in control.
This is compound grief. It’s been unexpected and very unwelcome.
My rage is untargeted, erupting in brief, violent outbursts, then swallowed back down into the pit. I’m avoiding people and challenging situations because I’m uncertain of myself. Not many living people in my circle deserve my unrestrained fury.
In time, I’ll convert this experience into stories of death, revenge and monsters both metaphorical and real. For now, though, I’m too raw, too wild, too scary to write. So, I’ll just hang out by my pool of darkness with a long glass of sadness, until the grief and rage are balanced again.