5 years on

Saturday will mark the 5th anniversary of my brothers’ death.
 
Chris was only 26 years old when he died.
 
It was sudden.
 
No warning, no chance to say goodbye.
 
The suddenness of it all, is I’m sure why 5-years on, I still don’t believe he has gone.
 
I never thought shock could continue for years. 
 
I never thought numb could be such a colossal part of grief.
 
It’s different for everyone, but certainly for me, this is often how I feel. 

Numb. 

Disconnected from the fact that he has gone, waiting for the waves of reality to wash over me. 
 
I used to think this meant I was doing something wrong. That there was a break in the circuit somewhere. 

Now I understand that numb serves a purpose; it a way of coping, of getting through. 

Our bodies are intelligently programmed to survive.

The intermittent waves of reality are the truth being drip fed to me. 

So I can face it bit by bit. 

And there is no rush, to face the full gravity of it. 

No rush to comprehend, to come to terms, to heal. 

It's a lifelong task.

That, I am ready to accept. 
 
The run up to his birthday and the anniversary of his death are when I do feel it most. 

Not in my head, where the facts are stored, but in my body. 

In my tummy, in my heart. 

There's a heaviness. 
 
I feel myself going inward, as though I’m hunkering down, like how you might grip onto the arm rests of an aeroplane during turbulence.
 
I’m steadying myself for the rocky patch.

Even though it can be incredibly uncomfortable, I try not to resist the oncoming bumps.  

I know to heal I need to feel. 

I let the pangs swell in my heart, tummy and throat.
 
I let the tears flow, without stemming them.

I let the waves flood in.

I try to be extra kind to myself at these time, to not expect too much. 
 
The path of grief is one that many of us are walking and with the celebrations and family gatherings that come with this time of the year, it can be extra hard.

If you feel this dragging feeling too, this weight, this ache, may you feel their presence all around you and be comforted by it. 
 
May you be kind to yourself.
 
May you show your love and grief in whatever way feels right for you.
 
Standing with you.