What do you do when someone you love dies? Someone you assumed would always be there for the whole of your lifetime… someone whose death upsets the natural order that we all live by….?
It’s tempting to become bitter, cynical and even a little hateful at the world, at people who cause hurt and upset to others, at religion, politics… I remind myself that this thought cycle is a potential downward spiral to a life of ugliness, what ifs and general unfulfillment. But I can see how it can be comforting in some ways to hold on to the indignant and self-righteous questions like ‘why is life so unfair?’… ‘what is wrong with this world?’… ‘if there was even a god, why would they allow this to happen?’… ‘what’s the point of it all?’
For some, this is potentially a natural train of thought, the way they approach life, even prior to the loss of a loved one (these people particularly frustrate me), for others it’s just a way of trying to make sense of the loss.
The flip side of this would be to embrace the positives, such as holding on to the memories you are lucky enough to have, feeling thankful to have shared your life with that person, providing support and comfort to those who also lost and are left behind. In a lot of ways this is much harder than giving in to the negatives.
I sit somewhere in between. I’ve questioned why.. what for.. whose fault is this.. could we have done anything different.. why is that person alive and healthy when my sister isn’t.. blah blah.. And I’ve also thought long and hard about the purpose of it all. We have to find a reason, a purpose for things, to be able to make sense of why we do the things we do.
My favourite question, the one I try and live by, is ‘what would Anna have done?’ Because for someone who was faced with the finality of their life at such a young age, and who managed to rally her troops to behave in the way we all did, and help her to reach her incredible fundraising target of £100k, then she’s someone whose opinion will be forever worth considering.
So with that in mind, as well as a little therapy, some medication, my love for my job, my family and reigniting my love/hate relationship with the gym, I feel a little less lost. Most days..
Of course there are always the times when I get unexpectedly struck by our loss, and it hits hardest from the things you don’t see coming. A comment, an image, an unexpected reminder of the smallest kind… But we’ve grown used to these. I know they will never go away. And they all become part and parcel of remembering and continuing to love that person even though they’re gone.
And somewhere along the way we have all started to see the positives in it all. The point, the reason, the purpose. We were lucky to have had Anna with us for as long as we did, we were lucky to have witnessed and taken lead from her bravery and courage, we were lucky to have not seen Anna lose too much of who she was at the end, we were lucky that we got to say goodbye, and we were lucky that she positively affected so many people in the way that she did, providing comfort to others who needed it along the way.
Hearing the devastating news of the recent terrorism in Manchester brings home just how lucky we were. Anna didn’t go out one day and never come home, we got our goodbye. We were lucky. So you see, it’s all about perspective. Well that’s what I’m learning anyway. Trying to make sense of the senseless.
I even take comfort from the robins and butterflies that seem to appear far more frequently than ever before. I like to believe they’re visits from Anna and the family we have lost. My nan, grandad, aunty Betty, Pete, grandma, grandpa.. Even the dogs.. I like to believe they’re altogether somewhere and I take comfort from that. I haven’t found god, I don’t believe in a lot of things, so for those of you who know me, this is probably totally out of character, but grief changes people, and for me I hope it’s for the better.
Of course we have the added honour of continuing where Anna left her fight, which I think we’ve all taken some comfort in. I’m determined to keep her legacy alive and to support the charity that meant so much to her.
And I strongly believe that her story, as tragic as it is uplifting, should be told. So I am therefore making tentative steps towards writing a book in case I start to forget the little things that made our last couple of years with her so special (and funny.. she was always funny). So any help would be gratefully received! I’ve never written a book before (even though my dissertation felt like one!) so I’m a little out of my comfort zone!
Somehow it has been just over 8 months since Anna passed away. I genuinely don’t know how that time has passed. I’m just travelling back up north from a lovely, much-needed week with some of my family in Cornwall where I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, relax and remember, and so for the first time in months I felt like I had something to say. I hope I haven’t bored you all!!
I promise my next post (very belated) will be about the charity ball we held in March and what our next fundraising plans are. But for now I’ll leave you with what I hope wasn’t too melancholy a rambling and some food for thought in that we should all try and see the positives in life (as much a reminder for me as it is for everyone else!) 🙂