From the heart

And so I continue on, heavy hearted. At the moment all I want to do is sleep but that’s difficult with three children and a funeral to arrange.

The funeral is tomorrow. It still doesn’t seem real at the moment. When I knew that there was a chance Dad would die this time, I spoke to my sisters about his home. I asked that we didn’t move or change anything, not for a while.

As I have written before, I have found this a comfort. All three of us have sat thoughtfully in his chair. We can contemplate the gift of his life whilst looking at the many photos we have laid out.

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to wonder if this has something to do with my lack of acceptance. I don’t feel like he’s gone.

Added to that is visiting him in the Chapel of Rest. I feel like I’m visiting him in hospital again and he’s asleep. He looks so peaceful. Yes, all of this is a comfort to me but it feels like a big stopper that is holding in my grief and at some point it’s going to explode.

Last night, my eleven year old son came down stairs crying. He was pretty inconsolable for about an hour. He sat on my knee and I soothed him but I didn’t shed one tear. This is not me! I have a very high emotional awareness and empathy and struggle to hold back tears when I see others upset (which can be particularly tricky when I’m at school) and yet there was nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not right. The exhaustion, the malaise, the physical heartache, the fear of loneliness swinging into irritation of company; I recognise that these are all symptoms of a grieving person. Part of me just wants to run away. The last time I felt like that was when I was depressed earlier in the year but this feels different because it is different. My heart is heavy and my world is dull but my head seems clear unlike my breakdown. But I also know that my head is doing a great job of protecting me from the truth and the memory of the truth as it happened.

One of my regrets is that I didn’t complete Dad’s cross stitch while he was alive. He was so impressed with my Jane Austen cross stitch and asked that I did one with little birds. I kept putting it off, and putting it off. I wanted to do it: I thought I’d do it for Father’s Day. But I just didn’t.

Last night I stayed awake until I finished a little design. I had no plan or pattern to follow, and just made it myself. At first, my plan was to put the cross stitch in his coffin but I’ve now decided to keep it. Instead, I replicated one of the little birds I had stitched on to another part of the same fabric which ties them together. He asked for a little bird and I have finally made him one. The rest of the design is the first line of an E. E Cummings poem that I read to him in the hour after he died when we were alone. I’ve then stitched hearts and a robin and a blackbird. Robins are Dad’s favourite garden bird but we all noticed the cheeky blackbird that appeared when Dad died. Blackbirds seem to be everywhere at the moment. Dad gave me a handmade blackbird for Christmas and months ago my sister engraved one onto a wooden heart he had made. The last part of the cross stitch are forget-me – not flowers.

It’s far from perfect, I know that. But I also know my Dad would have loved it. I’ve poured love and energy into that wobbly little design. I hope it will be of comfort to me when my mind finally allows me to accept the truth.

3 thoughts on “From the heart

  1. I’m reading out of order. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent but I can feel your pain in your writing. As is the case with so many things in life, I believe there is no right or wrong way to do grief. Our minds are incredible and they do protect us when we need it most. Your cross stitch is lovely- so meaningful and full of love. My heart goes out to you. I hope you are able to find some peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with Kat – there is no right or wrong way to grieve, just as long as you let it take you where you need to be, one step at a time. Acceptance will come when you’re ready, it’s nothing you should try to hurry. I remember feeling just the same: am I ok? Is this normal? Should I be pulling myself together more? They said I should get myself help, but I didn’t want anonymous help. In the end, it was many different people who helped, often without knowing it. I also learned to expect bouts of grief, in the most unexpected moments. They are all part of the journey. Have a peaceful day tomorrow ❤️

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