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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Weight of Grief

Two weeks ago today family and friends were meeting together with us for Suzie's funeral. I can't believe how very quickly the time seems to have gone by, and yet it feels like a lifetime ago that Suzie and I were together. I would love to write an encouraging blog about how time is healing, but, right now, it isn't. Life without Suzie is just about as bleak and unbearable as it can be. When I wake up each morning the increasingly familiar surge of pain rips through my very being, and sometimes the tears are falling before I've even opened my eyes. Each day that passes feels like it's taking her further and further away from me, and it tears me apart. I try to recapture memories of our final days together, but they're hazy and I sometimes fear that even the memories will fade away. 
I've heard people talk about the 'weight' of grief, and that's exactly what it is. It's an extreme heaviness that bears down on me, crushing me to the ground and paralysing me. I can't function properly and sometimes I can't even move. Everything is such a huge effort and so exhausting. I stand for ages, staring blankly at things that need to be done, but I don't have the physical or mental capacity to do them. 
Everything around me seems trivial and pointless. Without Suzie there just doesn't seem to be any reason or purpose in anything. I can't engage in conversations about normal everyday things without feeling like it is all just meaningless words. Most of the time I can't converse at all because any attempt at talking becomes incoherent as the emotions overcome me. I have yet to be able to answer the question 'How are you?' without totally breaking down and becoming a sobbing wreck.
Before Suzie was ill I already suffered anxiety and mental health problems, particularly when having to go out. I was better if Suzie was with me, but going out without her was a real challenge. This has become exacerbated in recent weeks, and most days I find it almost impossible to leave the house. It seems crazy that one of the greatest joys that Suzie and I shared was going for trips out and walking for miles with her in her wheelchair. Holding on to Suzie I could walk for hours and enjoy every minute of it. Without her I struggle to even get through the front door to put the rubbish out into the bin.
I miss her so much it feels like a physical pain in my chest as though someone has ripped out my heart. She was my life for over 20 years, and particularly during the last couple of years I barely left her side. I have lost everything that made each day what it was, and I have lost the very essence of who I was. I just don't know how to move on from here.
I can only come back to my knowledge that, just as God put me here to care for Suzie, so, too, does He have plans for the rest of my life. Sometimes I can't feel the reality of that, but that is where faith comes into its own. The Bible reminds us that 'Faith is believing in things that we can't see'. I will never stop believing. I will never stop thanking God for the blessings He has given me. I will always thank Him for the many wonderful years Suzie and I shared together, and I will certainly always thank Him for my amazing family. Today I thank God especially for the precious weekend I've just spent with my daughter who is a real treasure, and for the quality time we spent as a family celebrating my Dad's birthday. 
Right now I can't actually feel the joy of such things in a tangible way, but I hold on to the knowledge that they are there. In the Bible's Old Testament the prophet Habakkuk lists  a whole string of disasters where everything fails or is taken away from him, but he concludes with the words, 'Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord'...... I'm not sure how to 'rejoice' right now, but as an act of will and of obedience to God I'm certainly going to try.
I leave you with some images that help to remind me of God's blessings....

This year's blossom brings back memories of Suzie gazing at the tree she loved so much.
These Greenfinches that Suzie loved to watch have started coming back again.
Memories of happier times....