annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 43

Much better. Much, much better.

I had art therapy this morning which was interesting. She (A, the therapist), is very attentive to language and she picked up that I was using a lot of weather images, especially 'stormy'. And I remembered at once this piece about grief, and that I'm currently always painting stormy skies, which I hadn't connected. Stormy skies with little bits of colour, so a touch of optimism. This keeps coming round - it's from Reddit, just under the name C Snow, in response to someone else. You may have seen it, it's the best thing I've read about grief:

Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here's my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don't want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don't want it to "not matter". I don't want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.

My aunt died yesterday, of the virus. My last aunt. She was lovely. I hadn't been to see her for ages and I don't know why. She was in her 80s, diabetic, became very ill, was admitted to hospital, put on a covid ward due to lack of beds, caught it and died. I hate this fucking government so much. We have fewer beds (and doctors and nurses), per person than any other European country, because they kept withdrawing funding, on and on and on. Cunts. My cousin was able to be with his mother for her last day, which is something, but I hope to God he hasn't caught it too. RIP Jean.

I walked in the woods this afternoon. I just needed to get among the bluebells. I missed them last year due to the pneumonia and I can't even remember the year before that. I felt like I was being naughty, or wrong, but I wasn't. I drove for 15 minutes and walked for an hour and only passed two people in that time. This photo doesn't do them justice - a carpet of scented blue flowers under dappled sunlight



It was perfect, just what I needed. I wish you could smell it - like heaven. The sounds of the birds singing, the crunch of twigs underfoot, fresh green leaves, warm sunlight. Lush.

Someone directed me to a place for a free weekly meditation and it has a yin yoga class on Thursday afternoons, so I did that - a bit harder than the one I do on Sundays but a good addition to my weekly set now I've dropped Jim's classes for a while.

Pub quiz this evening - Bloke only went and beat me, which was a bit rubbish, though mainly because he did better lucky guessing than me. The kids played, Son won again. M played as well and came last out of the five of us which amazed me - I never thought I'd beat her at anything. There are five rounds - this week they were Film and TV; Sport; Music; Geography; General Knowledge. There were 139,000 people online, but probably loads more than that as families play - that's just the number of IP addresses. I don't know why we enjoy it apart from the fact that the guy who runs it is an amiable, slightly chaotic, slightly overwhelmed bloke who only expected to have about twenty people turn up for his first online quiz five weeks ago, when the pub where he does it had to close. That first one was a bit hit and miss - the sound went for a while and the signal, but loads of us stayed till the end and came back the next week when he'd got it better organised, with the questions and later the answers onscreen. He needs to sort out his capital letters, which are pretty random, though only at the beginning of words, unlike some I have known, who liKe to put them anYwHere.

For Daughter's birthday the weekend after next, I am asking people to record a short birthday message which I will edit into one long video and send it to her in the morning of her birthday. We've spoken twice today and it's been so hard not to tell her about it as it's been my main preoccupation for most of the day. But I managed not to and I've downloaded the iMovies app which apparently is a piece of piss to use and which I'm going to practice on over the weekend. Tomorrow Daughter and I are going to accidentally arrive at the same patch of beach at the same time because enough is enough already, I need to see my girl and she needs to see me. Son saw the dad last weekend, so fuck it. I know we're not meant to but we're going to.

I am grateful for: my aunt not being alone when she was dying; my continuing good health; a much better day; bluebell woods; a warm bed

Good night xxx



11:59 p.m. - 23.04.20


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