Tuesday, 19 February 2019

The Forgotten Time

There is a period of time during the grieving process that I like to call 'the forgotten time.'
Now this may sound like some high budget Hollywood film about the prehistoric times, but sadly not. This is the time directly following a death, or trauma, and in my case is the 3 months after my mum died.

As I'm sure you may able to tell this name is due to the fact that those months are a complete haze to me; everything is a blur with only small insignificant moments that pop out in my mind.

It is such a strange time, initially spent in pure shock and devastation.

When I wasn't crying then I think I just sat around on my sofa feeling numb. Nothing felt real.

I will forever be grateful to my mum's best friend, Mary, who just took charge of the funeral completely and booked in all of the appointments to make the necessary arrangements. She would pick me up to go to the funeral directors, the church and caterers, and then drop me back home. I didn't have to make one phone call myself.

Then when the funeral came around a few weeks afterwards, I was still in my bubble. I hadn't seen any friends at all as I couldn't bare to talk about it or to talk normally either. I felt safe at home with my dogs away from the world.
Apart from my obvious family and friends I honestly couldn't tell you who came to the funeral either. I know that there were lots of people in the church, but I couldn't look at anyone in the eye and the day is such a haze that I just don't remember.

One memory that I do have around that time is of going to Tesco's to buy some ingredients to bake chocolate brownies. I remember my hip bones were protruding out of my dress, and my body felt uncomfortable to be in. I had hardly eaten apart from a small jacket potato or portion of lasagne each day.
I didn't even want to eat the brownies but thought it would keep me busy for an afternoon.

I also wouldn't watch television. It seemed as though every channel and advert was about cancer or had someone unwell on. It was haunting me. So I just watched YouTube videos that I could control.

A trip up into London for a makeup event, that I thought would be something to look forward to and make me feel 'normal', ended up with me feeling extremely anxious and almost crying on Oxford Street.
I stood outside of Tottenham Court Road tube station and looked at the crowds of people in front of me who were smiling, laughing and happily living their lives.
None of them knew what I had been through, they couldn't see my bruises, and I felt so vulnerable and lost. A small speck in a huge world which now didn't include my mum; my safety net.
It was not a nice moment or place to be.

After that night I went home and just continued my hibernation.

These are the only real memories that I have, and this may well be because I spent a lot of time tucked away and not making memories anyway.
But also I believe this is because it is our minds way of protecting us. We function on a very basic level when dealing with great grief. We just need to get through each day and breathe and sleep. Nothing else is important. Just fight or flight mode. Self preservation.

I also know that I did have moments of laughter too. Every emotion under the sun I felt at some point. It wasn't all sadness, but very numb and obviously unimportant.

So if you are reading this and have the forgotten time as well, then don't worry. We do what we need to get through and that is all that is needed.
If you are living this at the moment and have no motivation for life, then equally don't worry. It shall return, I promise. Life continues on around you and one day you will be ready to re-enter.

Our bodies and minds are pretty amazing, and they protect us in the best way that they can.


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