On grief, part II

It’s been a month. A month ago, he left us. It was the virulent leukaemia after all. And me being a stem cell match didn’t help. (If none of this makes sense you’ll need to read my previous post from last July).

There’s so much I could say, so much I want to say about the process of watching him and his partner go through the various treatments that were tried, about the process of being a stem cell donor, about the hope that comes with the next treatment option, until finally there are no more options. Only palliative care.

But I can’t write about it now. My face is salty and my heart too bruised today. I’ve lived a blessed life and this is my first taste of grief so strong that you can’t take it in all at once. Grief that comes in waves and leaves you adrift in your own emotion, grief that threatens to drown you.

I feel too weak to do anything, all my strength is gone.

I’m living a double life. There’s me carrying on and doing what I need to do, attending to my family, functioning at my job. I’m currently in the UK. So I’m dealing with travel, making memories with my family, networking with fellow researchers. Then there’s the other me, grieving in the quiet moments that I have to myself. Bewildered that this has happened, shocked anew every time I remember, mourning whenever something reminds me of him. There’s a lot that reminds me of him: red hair, minis (the car, that is), the type of ambient music he had on whenever I visited, cocktails, and snazzy clothes.

I dreamt there was a cure and woke up remembering that he’s gone. Realising that this can’t be fixed.

Time is living a double life too. There’s normal time marching on, carrying me onwards. There’s eternal time where I’m stuck in a moment, where’s it’s still so fresh, so shocking, so painful. How can it be a month?

I feel like the way forward is to somehow reconcile the two mes. The me of grief and the me of the brave face. To weave the two together so that my grief comes part of me. So that I know its ok to mourn, to grieve, to adjust to this new normal. I know I will find new ways in which he remains a part of my life, in a new and a different way.

I know I will eventually get used to seeing the things that remind me of him.

But in the meantime there’s an awful lot of minis in the UK.


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