Life after Bobby: one year on

It’s twelve months, one year, 365 days since my Dad died.

It doesn’t feel real and yet I’ve developed a low level awareness that’s constantly there.

It feels like yesterday but it also feels much longer than a year.

If there is one thing that I can emphatically say I’ve learnt over the last year, it’s how contradictory grief is. It’s such a paradigm, I’d not have thought before that a rational person could experience such swift changes of mood, of happiness straight to joy, and back again. Brought on by a memory, a smell, the sound of a distant laugh, visiting a place shared before, or the ache that comes from a thought of ‘can’t wait to tell Dad that’ and the sinking realisation that’s not to be.

I guess the reality is grief isn’t rational, and any of us living with it, in it, aren’t either. Not sure how many people get through life without experiencing some loss or grief, for themselves and loves or lives lost, if not for someone else….so guess the reality is that we’re all irrational at times, some of us more than others. I can live with that. In a world where we’re geared away from showing true vulnerability, where being irrational is considered an unhealthy state, it’s good to take time to realise that we’re all on a rationality spectrum all the time, and yes grief intensifies your trip up and down that spectrum some what. I asked Oxblood & Co if I could borrow their doodle for this post (above from instagram) and Adam astutely observed that ‘It’s not the best mood to be in, when the feeling comes back it’s great…like when your arm is asleep’ – aint that the truth! I’ve had quite a few times when my arm (insert head/heart) has been numb and asleep over the last twelve months, but when the pins and needles wear off it’s like there’s a renewed energy to appreciate life.

It has taken me most of the week to try and find an appropriate photo or image to illustrate the last year, and grief in general. You get lots of dandelion clocks, which are lovely, but far too whimsical for me. I drew a blank and decided this was a task too far until mindlessly looking at the photos on my phone and tripping over this video I took on Remembrance Sunday. I’d taken my parent’s dog down to the beach to clear the cobwebs and do some remembering of my own. This video is the closest I can come to illustrating grief:

That’s exactly what it feels like for me. You’re running headlong into life, determined to make it happen and feel again. Then before you know it you’re heading back in the opposite direction. One step forward, two steps back, but still with time to enjoy the sun and the beach. What I didn’t manage to capture on the video was the sea sneaking up and catching us both unawares and soaking our toes.

Over the last year I’ve blogged about Life after Bobby; a quick scan of those posts reveals some of the highs and lows. I feel so proud of my Mum and siblings, and quietly of myself, for how we’ve coped/handled/lived/loved (as my autocorrect keeps telling me) Dad’s death. I know none of us could have done it without support, and for me that support has come from some unexpected places. To each and every one of you who has taken the time to read this blog, to comment, to tweet me or DM me, to drop me an email, who sent flowers or cards a year ago, the hugs, the cake, the space to just talk and share – please know that you’ll always have my gratitude.

For those who have encouraged me to keep blogging, to share my life and loss of Dad, a special thank you. There’s no rule book about blogging death or loss (or about trying to find your way and meaning), I’ve done what I can to share openly and authentically and to those who read and encourage, thank you, it’s more appreciated than you know.

Here’s to the next year, to remembering Bobby J and looking ahead and keeping working at embodying his one mantra in life, which was to ‘let it go’. Not there yet, but definitely on the way!

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  1. November 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

    George you have an amazing ability to capture in words how I believe many people wish they could express themselves in similar life changing moments. I believe in life each experience (both good/bad) makes you stronger and shapes the person you are. Keep blogging George it is good to show vulnerability – it shows you are real…..

  2. November 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Really interesting blog post George (just looking at this one, and the one below). Firstly, I’m sorry – bereavement sucks. I’m in the quite unusual position of having been bereaved (my mum died about just over 10 months ago) yet am spending most of my time interviewing people who have been bereaved between 6 months – 2 years ago (my PhD is focussed on benefits of EoLC to family members/friends) and as a result have no escape from it really. Although it’s obviously very difficult, especially when things they say describe perfectly what you experienced, I think in some ways it’s opened my eyes to how there really is no right way to grieve (and also how much worse things could have been) which in a way makes me grateful that my experience wasn’t as bad as some (although a bit worried about for when I’m older). Something that you said which rang true was about the informal support whether it’s via friends/family/twitter or whatever etc, that seems to be a constant theme in my research for helping people get over their loss. Also I have a lot of love for your points in your previous post! Sorry I really can’t remember where I was going with this comment…….but yes please do carry on with your blog, if it helps you then that’s obviously good, but it clearly benefits others as well and that’s great – you put nicely into words what a lot of people feel but can’t neccesarrily articulate or discuss with other people which I think is helpful. Keep at it :)

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