Grief has a lot of ups and downs. You get good at hiding your pain, at getting on with your life. Because, you know, life does go on. I was relieved initially that Dad wasn’t suffering any more, but then I felt guilty about being relieved. For a while I didn’t feel too much at all, except pain. But you have to learn to live with the hole in your heart. No matter how bad it is for me, it must be a lot worse for my mother. She is such a strong person, but she must be hurting – they were together for over 50 years. I admire my mother more than anyone else in the world – she is everything to me and I love her dearly.
Getting through the first year is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I had no terms of reference on how to deal with the way I felt. A song on the radio can still bring hot tears to my eyes; a picture of Dad makes me long to see his dear face just one more time. I still don’t sleep very well. I still wish I could turn back the clock. I still miss him so much.
For the most part, I live my daily life and do what I need to do. But I know I have a long journey to make in this runaway train called grief.
Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always use. Put no difference into your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.... What is death but negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near just around the corner. All is well.
Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918), British Anglican clergyman