Dealing with grief in the saddest of times

A man in red short-sleeved shirt and dodgy patchwork trousers is sitting outside in his wheelchair. He's in a lovely garden setting (mature trees in the background). He's clearly pretending to work (laptop, headphones) as he has a cheeky smile and a glass of booze
Sodding Multiple Sclerosis and Sodding Covid. My mental health in quiet isolation.
15 January 2022
A selection of five photos in a montage. All showing either my sister - a beautiful brunette - from babydom to her 40s - or that same sister plus me also brown haired and white, also from teeny to 40s ish. We’re always happy, we are always clearly loving each other

Vicky and I. Seems like yesterday

It’s all about Ukraine isn’t it? Well this one is too. Kinda.

Grief. Time to recognise nearly all of us are going through versions of grief right now:

So many of us were already coming to terms with two surreal years. Thanks Pandemic. 😬. Lost loved ones. Lost freedoms. Lost businesses and careers. Lost opportunities. Lost contact. Lost health. Lost dreams. (Some of us in the vulnerable category are now grieving lost protections, but that’s a complaint for another day).

And suddenly we are grieving – among many other emotions – for Ukraine. For democracy. For human beings. Those of us long in the tooth are sad we’re racing towards another Cold War. Putin fans are confused. And any dictator reading this is grieving the good old days of easy bullying.

A ‘classic’ image of a glum President Putin sitting at one of his elaborate long tables. This one cream. No-one else is in the pic. Plush curtains in the background.I have crudely scribbled a party hat on his head

A popular man’s wild party, yesterday

 

 

For me, March is ‘remembering my sister month’. I loved her desperately from the moment she was born.

Five years ago in early March I was already in hospital with a severe bladder infection. And in came my sister. Different ward, different illness. Never to come out, though we didn’t know it then.
Mid-month it’s her birthday.
And nearer the end of the month Vicks left us.
So yeah, March.

 

If you watch Tom Hanks for long enough on YouTube, you’ll hear him use the ancient Persian phrase, ‘This too shall pass’. It’s a lovely mantra. I’ve come to live with and embrace my Multiple Sclerosis and I’m aware I’ll grieve again as my disease progresses. Those moments will pass.

 

My lovely brother-in-law and lovely nephews Vicky left behind have more than coped. They’re resilient and they’re happy. I talk or nod to my sis every day through her picture on my wall. I don’t ever want to forget her and there are tough moments. But the overwhelming, paralysing phase? This too has passed.

I suspect I’ll be returning to mental health musings in this strange future facing us.

In the meantime, some guidelines I found on coping with grief.

1. Acknowledge your pain.

2. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.

3. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.

4. Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.

5. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.

 

And I’ll add: 1. Psychotherapy was hugely beneficial for me. 2. I love Tom Hanks!

Tom Hanks is hairy and with an overgrown beard. He’s not wearing much and he’s sitting on log. He appears to be shouting

Tom Hanks in Castaway, yesterday.
Spoiler alert. This too passed.

 

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