death pains

A childhood friend let me know, early this week, that her father had just died. It wasn’t unexpected and yet, for her, the surge of accompanying grief was.

She’s 58. I remember when my darling daddy left this earth a neighbour attempting to comfort me with ‘there is no good age to lose a parent’. I was 22. True that wasn’t a good age, but I feel sure 58 isn’t either.

My friend planned a couple of quiet days to herself before tackling the long drive home at the end of the week. It’s at least 7 hours. I could imagine myself taking off as soon as I heard the news. I always try to outrun anxiety.

Driving in panic, heartbeat as fast as the car can go. Not helping anyone.

You know the fight or flight when you basically run round in circles doing the headless chook?

Stop. breathe. respond don’t react.

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blurred timeline

I wish I could write you an accent. Wait, let me try…

I could see her coming, out her door, as I was parking.  She was doing that afternoon thing of farewelling her son.

‘Annnnie’ she swooped and folded me in. ‘WHAT could you doooo? What could you DOOOO?’  Tears I must have been saving for days… ‘She’s in hevun now, she’s in hevun’.

She limped her arthritic joints back into her house.  My afternoon took a decidedly darker turn – grief rears its’ ugly head in unexpected moments, doesn’t it.

The smell of her perfume? makeup? soap or face cream? or just her Malteseness, stayed with me for hours, her crush replayed with each waft, and accompanied by fresh tears.

First sighting of the neighbours post bereavement – check. It should get easier…