This past fortnight (really, only a fortnight? It feels like a year), I found gratitude hard to swallow. Grief for my brother was all consuming, and any efforts to be grateful were kicked in the guts and left in the gutter. Sure, I felt a hollow gratitude, for family, friends, flowers. But it all felt pretty meaningless. None of it changed the fact that Ryan is gone, that his kids don’t have a Dad any more.
Grief has been like a dog on a lead, permanently tied to my wrist, following me everywhere. Sometimes it would swallow me whole, from out of nowhere, with one big bite, and I’d be drowning in darkness and tears and feeling nausea and pain. Real pain. I never knew that before. Grief physically hurts.
It still hurts. It still sneaks up on me. But now there are little fragments of light, piercing the dark.
But you know what comes with that? Guilt. Surely I shouldn’t be feeling happy? Surely I shouldn’t laugh? Surely I shouldn’t find enjoyment in anything, not when Ryan is gone.
I tell myself, and my family and our friends, that no, it’s not wrong to laugh. Ryan wouldn’t want us all to be permanently morose. There is no right way to grieve. Cry when you’re sad. Laugh when you’re happy. Punch things (preferably soft cushions and not people) when you need to. And find light in gratitude.
Now, in this moment, I’m deeply grateful for:
♥ my family. We’re all leaning on each other and it warms my heart to see how we are trying to protect and care for each other.
♥ my friends. They have been quick to envelop me in support and love. I’ve been completely blown away by their support.
♥ my children. Pebble and Rocky have been like my little security blanket during the past fortnight. The thought of them, the feel of them, the smell of them. Their laughter and silliness, their cries of need that remind me that I need to keep being mum.
♥ my husband. Oh, my husband. He’s been simply amazing. Always one step ahead, thinking of what I might need. Being mum and dad for the kids, while I wandered, numb and empty. I simply could not have gotten through any of this without him by my side.
♥ my MIL, SIL and niece, who have all helped to care for our babies while we’ve been here and there, mourning, grieving, supporting.
♥ new babies. My newest little nephew arrived in the world and brought with him real smiles and joy amongst all the sadness.
♥ healthy babes. Our little Rocky has been giving us some trouble, we thought he might need an operation on his testicles and our GP suspected a heart murmur. BUT a visit to the paediatrician gave us the all clear on both. Phew! I’m SO grateful for that.
♥ funeral services. It feels strange to be grateful for this, but it did help me to let it all out and to get a little bit of closure. The funeral home was so caring, understanding and thoughtful. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and heartfelt farewell to our Ryan.
♥ kind words.
♥ warm hugs.
♥ pretty flowers.
♥ sunshine on my face and grass on my back.
♥ buttered toast.
♥ sugary tea.
♥ soft tissues.