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Sunday Aug 22, 2021

THE MENTAL TORMENT OF GRIEF

Posted in Coping With Bereavement by Mike Hall

Just a few things that the mind refuses to give up on so that your shattered heart can somehow function a little easier. I know that as blokes normally go, they just clam up and refuse to show how they feel, well nuts to that. I’m hurting, I can’t shut up, I feel pain and anguish all the time. I try to hide behind a thinning veil which I think portrays the image that people want to see, but the fact of the matter is that I’m not fooling anyone apart from myself. Why should I be ashamed of showing how much I love her, how much I miss her, how much I need her, how much I hurt?

I think it is a sign of strength that you show your feelings because people will judge you whatever you say or do, so laugh and scoff at what I say, but dare to judge me and be judged by yourself. I hope you never have to walk the path I walk, because if and when you do, I just hope you the nuts to speak about your feelings, because by doing so you might actually help someone, someone like me, who is lost along an unknown path towards an uncertain future.

I’m being honest and open for the benefit of others so people can get an insight into my mind. I appreciate that grief is your own personal journey. Mine will be different to others, but I’m sure that some elements of what I write will resonate in the journeys that others take. The only difference is that I’m sharing it when the majority of men don’t. Perhaps that’s why there are so many fellas that take their own life or turn to drink or drugs to get peace from the constant mental challenge, who knows.

Tread carefully on my feelings as you speed read through my writings, this isn’t fiction its real time fact.

Why does denial and disbelief still flash through your mind and momentarily convince you that it’s just a dream?

I find that I might see someone or something and suddenly I transport into a level between the two realities. For a split second I believe that it’s all going to be ok and I will see her soon and as soon as that happens, reality brings me crashing to the ground. You know that is never going to happen, you know she has gone so why torment yourself.  Well I don’t know. Every night I look at her ashes and her picture, I say goodnight as though she is there. Looking at her picture makes me think she is still here; it just doesn’t make sense at all.

I’m looking at her now and it just feels like she is here, stuck behind glass that prevents either of us from ever being together. The Picture I have is enigmatic, Mona Lisa like, a loving look and a slight smile that draws you into here like it always did. I wish I could get the other side of the glass and just hold her close, fell her warm embrace, just for a while. Greif is such a torment, it gnaws at your heart, takes away all the things that you were. Zombie like, I treat each day as just a day or rather a passage of time that I have to get through somehow until I bang my head on the laptop keyboard on the dining room table when insomnia finally allows me to nod off for a few hours, at which point I make the journey to the room that has so many loving memories and truly awful ones that I’m sure are the main reason for my increasing insomnia.

Why do I have to balance guilt, betrayal and judgement on these tired shoulders?

I carry three things with me all the time with the only rest bite being exhaustion, distraction or the worst of all punishment, real punishment a form of self-harming, not in a cutting yourself sense, physically pushing yourself further that you should go. I walk through blisters and aches and pains, I eat less to lose weight, I don’t like the way I look, all to momentarily feel a different pain from those of the head or heart. I’m not a nutcase, I’m grieving.

GUILT

On one shoulder I have guilt, for nothing that I had ever done apart from a stupid adolescent time when we split up and she got involved with a let’s say “colourful” character. I didn’t choose her next boyfriend, but my stupidity caused the break up and the other to follow. Even though we had 40 years together after that, I will never forgive myself for that, a curse that torments me more and more and feeds the insomnia. Apart from that, which the fact we were together for many years after proved that forgiveness must have prevailed. But I do suffer other guilt issues such as:  what right do I have to just carry on with life, laugh, plan a future of sorts, smile or feel happy. Did I do enough for her when she needed me the most, well people say I did, but I couldn’t fix her, no one could, but that doesn’t make me feel better.

BETRAYAL

On the other shoulder I have betrayal. If I don’t think of her, cry as much, by the way I still do most days, in fact I write this with tear filled eyes. Dare to wish for companionship, a hand to hold just for a fraction of time so that I can have a moment of comfort and relief from this life draining existence. If I think of a holiday, and that’s hard because we played hard and had so much time away, I think that I’m just carrying on with the things I want to do without a backwards glance. The fact I am looking after myself, keep the house respectable and not letting anything slip feels like I’ve “moved on” as that ridiculous saying implies. When all I’m doing is surviving the best way I can.

JUDGEMENT

My final curse is judgement, sitting in the middle, in my head, questioning anything and everything. I judge myself as I think others are doing. Probably unfounded, but I’m scared of stepping out of line, doing something that people will criticise me for. Statements like “he got over her quick enough” well how long to I have to go through this hell on earth before people will see me for me and not someone “moving on” 1yr, 2, 5 10? If there is an afterlife, what would she be saying,” it’s too early to feel better”, or “is that all you think of me”, or “you soon got over me”. If I was to stay single and reclusive, would she prefer that? If I was to have a companion, would she hate that? If I laughed and got on with and enjoyed life, would she want that without judging me or would she want me to just give up on all my feelings, the things that I need to survive, and fritter my life away.

If I did step out of line by the standards of those around me or by those no longer here, would I be cast into an immortal life with her hating me? Why does my conscious arbitrate so cruelly to the point I physically hurt.

SO WHAT AM I TO DO?

All these are heavy weights on my shoulders that just feed my insomnia and when I go to bed, I cuddle the pillow because all I want is a little comfort, like a child being cradled in the bosom of their mother, offering me protection by the simple utterance of soothing words, there, there, etc. Is that too much to ask for? So the pillow is the only way I do get the few hours’ sleep, unless of course, the flash backs and the horrendous memories that I played a hand in and witnessed just a mere foot away from where I know lie.

Do I turn my heart to stone and deny all the things that make me, me?

Do I shut the door to my house and turn it into a sanctuary or prison depending on which side of the door you are?

Do I just implode in self-loathing and pity?

Do I just tough it out and hope that time heals me?

Do I just say stuff it all and just go and seek comfort in whatever form that comes my way?

Do I hope that counselling somehow shows me the way to be at peace with my head and heart?

Do I allow others to offer a hand, an arm, a shoulder to cry on with soothing words of comfort?

Well the short answer is that I just don’t know, I wish for once in my life, someone would take the decision for me, grab my hand metaphorically and lead me to a safe haven, a place in the sun where I could receive some interventional forgiveness, a blessing of sorts to say enough is enough, go forth and enjoy all that you need as its no one’s fault we are where we are, the only crime is that you loved and lost.

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