Keep on moving

Distraction is a vital coping mechanism during the early part of grief. It helps your body to recover enough to face the next wave.

mapleleaf tree


I’m writing a book based on my family-related blogs over the years and daughter one’s own writing. It was prompted by my son saying he was scared he would forget things about her. We are all terrified of that, and yet there is no need because we live with her all the time. Without her we would not be us. Every day daughters two and three do Anisha. They listen to her music, they watch films that she loved, they laugh at things she would have laughed at, they have crushes on people she had crushes on…They don’t need to say anything. We all know that they are with Anisha and Anisha is with them.

So the idea behind the book was that only son could open it at any page and read a blog about what we were doing in December 2012 or January 2015 or whenever and he will instantly remember all the details.

The only thing is that going through all those blogs I fear it is mostly about my exhaustion and not enough about the kids. Do I do them justice? Do I portray just how much fun it all was, how I wouldn’t have traded it for all the world? I read of the constant list of things that had to be done, the parents evenings, the dressing up days, the GP visits, the after school events, the school projects…but mainly about the amount of times people woke up in the night and came into our room. And the amount of times we had norovirus or the nits.

While we haven’t had nits and the norovirus for some time, I still occasionally get woken up in the night and I still have a list of things that I have to do every day. The kids want to plan adventures, even if it is only a bike ride to the forest. Only now the constant list of things to do is more about distraction than anything. You have to keep moving to avoid falling into the black hole of grief. I know I can’t outrun grief. It catches up with me all the time, but I have learned that standing still is the worst thing, particularly at this time of year, and that distraction is as vital as food and water. It gives you time to prepare for the next wave.

We are approaching the second anniversary, a time of year when every day involves reliving all the steps leading up to that day. I can feel that I am unstable, that I could lose it at any moment, at work or at home, that the danger of being engulfed by it all is ever near. So I fill the days with lists of things to do to keep the tide back. Even the smallest thing, though, can be extremely painful. Filling in a credit agreement where I am asked to explain the last three months’ spending – we went on holiday, to the last place Anisha went on holiday, because Christmas and her birthday were coming and the need for distraction was high – is difficult.¬†Being asked how many children I have for the agreement is hard.¬†Explaining that a delivery simply cannot happen on her anniversary is draining.

Everything has the potential to tip you into the black hole. It is exhausting, but there is no possibility of rest. At least not yet. So we keep on moving, circling the black hole.

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