This week I need you to bare with me. As I've hinted the last few posts, this isn't my favourite time of year. This time of year, my heart yearns, my mind aches. This time of year, there is no brave Sophie, she's gone into hiding. There's no such thing as 'time heals'. Time heals who? Not this heartache, there are some that just go too deep. And so I've been braving myself to write this post, maybe for closure to some extent, maybe just as an explanation and maybe a bit as an apology and a thanks to all of you.
Someone once told me that grief is like catching the train from Penzance to London Paddington; you just want to get there and be done with it but you've got to stop at all the stations. I'm stuck in Exeter. It's not that life hasn't gone on, on the contrary, my wildest dreams have come true. In the last twelve months, plenty has changed, the most exciting of all getting engaged. But that makes this year even harder.
It's three years on Monday 30th that my Grandpa passed away. It's been three long years of being utterly lost. Piecing back together myself in a Picasso style way that's left me metaphorical ears on my forehead and so on...My Grandpa wasn't just my mum's dad, he was the most significant man to ever have been in my life. He's the one, standing male role model I had throughout and the one man that I utterly trusted with my entire world. Since he's been gone, I can actually feel the little part of my heart that's been chipped away. Another therapist once told me of 'The stages of grief.' Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But what do you do when you're stuck in a limbo of all of those stages? When is it a worrying amount of time to go through these 'stages'? I spent the first twelve months trying to force myself out of them, I just wanted to speed-ride that metaphorical train. Did it help? No. By the first anniversary I was on a different anti-depressant every week, trying to find one that 'suited me'. By the second, I was more ready, and depressant free but instead, felt a wave of numbness and alienation that left me in a panic that maybe everyone else was moving on and I was still stuck? Did this mean forgetting? Did this mean 'acceptance'? And coming up to year three? Utter heartache. See how the fancy grief cycle kind of jumps off a cliff right about here?
Already the tears start flowing, writing your name reminds me that I'd have never written to you like this, 'When one is writing to one's immediate family, note how you address them in ink to make it more personal.' I remember looking up to the sky on November 2nd (your birthday) and our five year anniversary. I was walking around Rome, squeaking at anyone that would listen, anywhere, that 'I JUST GOT ENGAGED TO THIS FANCY BUGGER!' And even then, that little pin-prick in my heart stabbed and thought of you. As a little girl, planning your big day, revolved around you walking my up the aisle. I can actually see your face as you hand me to Harps. I can feel your hand holding mine, shaking a little, both of us as, as you let go. I can hear you, laughing at the speeches, sitting quietly, cigar in hand watching with a proud smile. And I can only dream of you're eloquent, defining speech that brings a tear to your eye and plenty to mine.
How do you change what you've always dreamed of? How do you just 'accept' it and move on? I remember after Nanny died and you told us how she spoke to you. Every night I squeeze my eyes shut as tight as I can and I look for you. I call out in my head, 'I'm ready, let me know everything will be ok. Talk to me just the one time. Just let me hear your voice again, once more.'
I know what you'd be saying right about now. 'Shape up Sophie. Where's the John Holmes in you?' I'd tell you that every single day I try and find the John Holmes in me. Every single day I tell myself what I'd want you to say. And I'd also say, right now...this week and leading into next. It's ok that I can't find my John Holmes. It's ok that for now, I'm stuck at Exeter station and in a maze of 'stages of grief.' It's ok to miss you. It's ok to still try and make the sneaky ol bargain with the man upstairs to have you back. It's ok to start crying at a man smoking a cigar in the middle of the street. It's ok to not even be able to look someone in the eye because their sympathy sets you off again. It's ok to still be angry. It's ok to hate the people that compare us to 'their grandparents.' It's ok to feel lonely. It's ok because next week when the memories start to faze into numbness again, I'll find my John Holmes.
'How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?'- Winnie the Pooh
Love Sophie Xx