It’s six months today since my beautiful Claire left us, so I have decided to read back through this blog at some of the old posts. When I set this website up I did it because I wanted to keep a record of how far I’d come, I knew it would be easy to spend my whole life wallowing in six months seems like a good time to reflect a little on how things are going.
On 21 April I wrote a post and it simply said ” I slept last night and got some respite from the pain” – I remember that pain, it was that sharp excruciating kind of pain that comes from a deep cut or broken bone. It was the kind of pain that I can imagine people banging their head against a wall to stop. That raw pain has stopped, it’s now a dull ache, the kind of ache that we get in our knees or back as we get older. The kind of continuous pain that we get used to living with, but is actually liveable with.
Days of firsts
On 29th of April I talked about a day of firsts. There are still many more ‘firsts’ to come which I know may be challenging. Christmas is the obvious big one but what I have realised is that the things we miss so much are the old habits, the way we used to do things, the things we used to say or the routines that we had got into. And what I know for sure is that Claire is not those routines – she is far more than that.
Knowing that means that I can remove the meaning to those routines and begin to look for new routines and habits to create a new vision of things like Christmas.
Moving house as been a big help in this, it has forced us to create some new routines and habits in a completely different environment. It has allowed us to separate the things around us from the memory of Claire and find a way to bring her memory into a new environment with our new routines and habits.
Feeling connected again
In May I wrote about feeling disconnected, I commented that it felt as though I have had something amputated. Oddly that feeling has completely gone now and I feel very much connected to my Claire. I still miss her terribly and sometimes the slightest thing sets me off.. When I have one of those moments it can feel like I haven’t come very far at all, but reading back to how I felt helps me to realise how much progress I’ve made.
Grief is a journey
I think what I have come to be aware of is that grief is an absolute journey. But it seems as though it’s a journey without an end.
I’ve recently joined an excellent Private group on Facebook made up exclusively of men that have lost their wives recently. It has been enormously helpful in being able to share my thoughts with a group of people that truly understand. A common theme with grief though seems to be the need to return to ‘normal’.
What I know for sure is that I need to let go of that terrible label ‘normal’. It’s simply a way of describing how things used to be and clearly they aren’t like that any more, so the idea of ‘normal’ actually has no meaning at all.
My challenge for the next six months is to work on accepting our new ‘normal’. Life is totally different now and it always will be which I guess is why grief is such a journey. As a family we need to continue to build our new habits and routines and find ways to include the memory of Claire so that this becomes our new, and perfectly acceptable ‘normal’.
The grief jungle
I feel like someone on a journey hacking a path through the jungle, with absolutely no idea where I’m going and even struggling at times to keep going. Yet I can also imagine that if I were to take a moment and just look back at where I had come from I would see it clearly worn path which is clear and ready for the kids to tread.
I’ve still no idea where I’m going, but I’m going to keep on hacking as at least I’m making progress!