Have you ever liked a song and heard it many times but never really knew what all the lyrics were? This happened to me recently. I was driving my car thinking about what my next post would be and how the topic of how I have become ‘one of those’ people seemed to fit for where I was at at the time.
I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You’re trying to save me stop holding your breath!
And you think I’m crazy, and you think I’m crazy
Well that’s nothin’….
For some reason, the words resonated SO much with me. I can’t count the number of times over the last 6 years or so that I have felt like I’m crazy. Yes, I have listened to the voices in my head and have been sure there’s been a monster living under my bed. The only difference is the monster I live with is not just under my bed.
I have to say trying to cobble together some sort of resemblance of a life after losing Ben has been hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and I am positive will remain the hardest thing I will ever have to do in the future. I guess that’s a positive.
I replied to an email from someone I hadn’t heard from for some months and despite them knowing my story all too well, I still felt the need to justify that while today my life is good, it doesn’t change the fact that I still have moments of feeling completely lost and miss Ben more than I can comprehend or explain.
Perhaps the ‘monster’ is my grief.
Perhaps everyone ‘trying to save me’ is the world expecting my life (or the life of any bereaved parent) to go back to ‘normal’.
Perhaps the ‘voices in my head’ are a combination of my own voice repeating, ‘just keep going, just keep going, JUST KEEP GOING! and Ben’s voice repeating ‘you’ve got, this you’ve got this, I’m always with you, YOU’VE GOT THIS.’
I did a talk recently and some of the questions the group had were, ‘What does life look like for a bereaved mother some years later? Do parents who lose their child(ren) ever get over it? ‘
The first answer is largely dependent on who you are asking. My life doesn’t even remotely resemble life before Ben and I am doing things I never imagined I would do. The second answer is a hands down NO! … but we do keep going. Some of the most incredible initiatives and charities have been created on the back of intense grief and sadness and on the shoulders of exceptional and inspiring parents who just kept going.
In the darkest of my nights
A little spark began to shine
Woke up and realised
Imperfection is divine
Over the last few years, there have been many a dark night and I know there will likely be more in the future. Why is it that things always seem worse at night? Physical or emotional pain is more painful and the darkness can bring with it a despair that doesn’t seem to be as intense when the sun comes up. Even creepy crawlies seem more scary in the dark than they do in the day. Why is that?
Does it have something to do with the silence? Silence definitely brings something powerful.
In a world so black and white
I’m outa place and outa my mind
Woke up and realised
Imperfection is divine
Yep, a lot of things in this world are perceived to be black and white. I talk a lot about death, grief and loss and there are many myths and misconceptions around what it feels like and specifically what it’s like to lose a child. People still assume it’s like losing anyone else – a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, or a pet.
I don’t know how many times I have said the words ‘every loss is different’. There is no black and white. Sometimes in life, there is only grey and it’s up to us to add the spark or the splash of colour.
Losing Benny has been my greatest teacher on so many levels. And still today I have no regrets. I wouldn’t trade having him in my life for those incredible 15 years for anything in the world. In life and afterlife he has been a source of wisdom, and the biggest driver in everything I do today. He taught me the value of time and the power of love.
I have learned many things and ‘woken up and had many realisations’.
So many of the things most of us worry about don’t actually matter at all.
We have inside of us everything we need to survive the worst kind of everything. The worst trauma, the worst experience, the worst kind of loss.
We are always stronger than we think.
Perhaps most importantly, I have learned to make friends with the monster who lives under my bed (and in every other part of my life) and I have learned to trust the voices I hear in my head.
Thank you to my crazy sister who told me recently, ‘Unfortunately (or fortunately) we have two switches. On or blubbering mess.’ You made my day! 😊
Thank you to my incredible son who never leaves my side and has shown me over and over that our relationship continues across realms and forever. Thank you for your continual reminders that sometimes I just need to stop… remember to breathe … and believe.
Ps. Do you know the name of the little girI in the film Monsters Inc? – It’s Boo.
Dalya xx 💙