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Grief is not a thing of beauty but it has helped me discover new parts of myself

6 22 0
25.06.2019

I’ve had an amazing two years, by anyone’s measure.

First, my mother died a very hard death from cancer. Then I ended my marriage, followed by a gut-wrenching estrangement from my formally close father. I nearly bled to death in a storage room in a Sydney public hospital, and a few months after that my unborn baby died. It sounds like the plot of a B-grade movie. But here I am, staring myself down in the mirror each day urging myself to carry on, whispering: “Yes, this really is your life now. Yes, you must still shower and dress and go to work”. It is one thing to know figuratively that bad things can happen to you at any moment. It’s quite another to live that realisation over and over again.

When I was grieving my mother, I searched out the stories of people who experienced unfathomable loss. The Year of Magical Thinking became my bible. I followed Joan Didion as she stumbled her way through comprehending the death of her husband and daughter. Back then, my singular loss felt so big that only stories of utter tragedy seemed up to the task of providing me insight into the contours and trajectory of grief. But in time, we can become accustomed to almost anything.

I fear I have become one of those poor souls, like Didion, that people treat as an oracle. How could so much possibly happen to one........

© The Guardian