The burden of grief

April 28, 2013

Dad with Catherine and meLast night I dreamed my father died again. In October it will be 25 years since he died, but in my dream, it was as though it was happening now, and the pain felt as real as it did then. My dad has been gone longer than he was ever in my life, but the grief, the pain of losing him is always there in the background.

I think that’s something people who haven’t lost someone very close to them struggle to understand. You can’t predict grief – what form it will take, how long it will last, how to deal with it. You just learn to manage it, that’s all. It’s not that you’re wallowing in it – far from it. But the pain of it as much a part of you as the love you felt for the person when they were alive.

Not getting a chance to say goodbye to a loved one, to tell them everything you want to say while they’re still around to hear, makes it hard because there are so many things left unsaid. All you can do really is tell them those things inside your head, or write them down, but it’s a pretty one-sided conversation. And there are so many things you know they would have loved to see, to have been part of, and that makes it so painful.

The burden of grief is that it never goes away.



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  • Expat Mum May 2, 2013 at 12:36 am

    I lost my dad very suddenly when I was 20 and he was 50. My cousins had lost their dad (brothers) a few years before at similar ages and I remember them telling me that you don’t “get over” it, you just “get through” it. Somehow it slots into a place in your consciousness but even now, decades later, I often find myself weeping and missing him. Like you, I have been without him longer than I had him but it’s something you never really get over.
    I can’t speak to losing someone who dies slowly, but the grief of losing someone suddenly is also accompanied with shock and fear (if you’re young).
    Ah well…. I had a dad that most kids were jealous of, a dad that had many friends and that everyone remembers as being a truly great guy!

  • Charlie Hughes May 1, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I lost my Mum 19 months ago to cancer and I’m not sure it gets any easier. I think you are right in that you manage the grief but it never ever goes away. I had a lot of unanswered questions and wasn’t able to be the support I so wanted to be before she died. You just have to come to terms with that in your own way and move forward in a new way x

  • Emma April 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I lost my mum when I was 9. I am now 41. Every year that goes by is another year further away from her. It hurts. At a base human level, in your very core. It never goes away, but is always there, like a rumbling reminder. Time doesn’t ease it, it just enables you to deal with it better.

  • Kate Sutton April 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I still have ‘those’ dreams too about Mum and I think only people have lost someone close can truly understand that grief is always with you. It changes, it lessens some days and is all you can think about on other days. It contributes to shaping who we are, how we view the world. I’m sorry for your loss and the pain you feel x

  • Laura April 28, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I’ve found that grief never leaves, it just changes shape as each milestone comes along. I always thought it would get better, and it did for a time … but then I had my own children and it all came flooding back because I realised that I was a motherless mother and I so wanted to share everything with her.

    Your Dad would be proud of the person you are Lizbeth, much love x