States, rather than stages, of grief are becoming recognisable. I’m going to describe these here to chuck ’em into the general mix of grief discussion and well worn (out) Kubler Ross type models.
My fledgling states, in no particular order;
- Delayed. A state of ok-ness. Open to distraction. Ability to function reasonably well. Happens in social/work situations. Able to have a good belly laugh. [Good.] Tends to end with a need to find some space to cry, to hold on to some memory of LB.
- Intermittent. A peculiar dotting of terrible but fleeting grief moments that happen in the instant. Without warning. Generating a strange, dissatisfying, strangled cry without tears. Kind of easy to recover from, in terms of picking up where I’m at. Wearing and unexpected.
- Raging. A star spangled, expletive drenched anger. Directed at the health and social (non) care LB received. A constant and harrowing emotion fuelled by the contrast between the extraordinary (and unrecognised) level of care we (like other families of disabled kids) provided and the ‘care’ he received from health and social (non) care. Ending with him dying so carelessly. In such a setting. There are no words. Just consuming rage. How could they?
- Numbness. A temporary halt on emotions. Like yesterday, when my parents, lil’ sis and I were planting flowers around LB’s grave. The enormity of this action sort of generates a shutdown. To create a space to get through.
- Fleeping. An almost cathartic state in which tears spill silently without control. Like a flooding, weeping thing but without the sobs. Or anything. Just tears. Last night the combination of curry and ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ caused fleeping. Curry and/or the Buzzcocks always generated a cheeky appearance from LB. Either to scoff a plate of food (or two), or to seamlessly squeeze in next to Chunky Stan to watch Noel Fielding post bedtime. LB loved Noel. These appearances were always amusing and Rich kind of encouraged them. With hindsight they demonstrated a contentment LB had with himself. And we loved the way in which his cheeky rule breaking was accepted by the other kids. They never questioned the differential treatment he received. Instead they added it to family folklore.
How to live life once a child dies? In such a terrible, unnecessary way? Rich and I have moved beyond a state of shock, of saying repeatedly ‘I can’t believe it..’, to saying ‘I bloody hate this’.
And added by my mum and sis;
- I find the night-time silent sobbing without tears the worst – either not getting off to sleep or waking after a couple of hours with a real pain in the chest and trying not to shake the bed with silent sobs. We are all feeling totally bereft, not just losing our beloved eldest grandson, but realising that the rest of his family will never be the same again, so we have lost the funny family unit they used to be as well. It’s a double whammy.
- For me its still the driving to Oxford …possibly because I do it most on my own and have time to think about LB (quite often in the present then have to remind myself he is no longer physically present) and no amount of Radio 2 or Heart or cd of the day can distract the thoughts……sad sad sad.
Whatever grief state is in play, life is crapshite now.