We cannot fix people’s grief, only sit with them, in their darkness | Giles Fraser: Loose canon: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2016/apr/14/we-cannot-fix-peoples-grief-only-sit-with-them-in-their-darkness
I know this now. But when you lose someone who you loved, you have to consider the ways it impacts you too.
A death in the family is felt by all. It may not be understood by all but it’s affecting them. You can’t really understand how death will affect you nor will you be able to predict how it will affect others, even if you think you knew them.
I sat with him for days when few others would and listened to him talk and made awkward conversation. I’d tried to offer olive branches in the years I’d known him – courses, facilities, even set up web sites and email addresses in the hope that I could give him some meaning beyond that which eventually took him. But it wasn’t to be. We talked about movies, music, TV shows, the legality of torrents and the victimless crimes of the world. We talked about video games and family, our aspirations for the world and surprisingly little about our aspirations for ourselves. Even though we had the warnings, I have to admit I never saw it coming. I thought that this time it would be fixed. This time it would be alright. This time there would be action taken, interventions made, decisions held to. I was wrong and I never saw it coming.
With hindsight there was an inevitability to it. And with that same hindsight comes memory and regret. If only I had done more, intervened more, encouraged more. If only I had acted and then I wouldn’t feel so bad about my part in the sorry tale. But these thoughts get in the way of grief. Of processing what happened and not letting it ruin what may yet happen. Am I blaming myself for my failure to control and direct the life of another?
I found out that he’d died in the middle of the night, during a bad week when my girlfriend and I had had a fight. And it floored me. It absolutely devastated me. And from there it set off a chain of events that now, six months later, I cannot process or understand. I don’t know why I did things other than someone had to act. Acting too late maybe but acting nonetheless. Doing the wrong thing maybe, but I didn’t have time to think. I only had the darkness and I was alone. I made promises I knew were poorly made. I let someone else’s grief take over every element of my life (even control of my social media). I deleted photos and was left only with memories to please someone who pleaded. I succumbed to their insistence, to their unreasonable demands, and I let them do what they wanted. I agreed with their rants, I told them what they wanted to hear, and it’s come back to torture me again and again. I don’t bear a grudge (other than never wanting them part of my life again) because I understand what grief can make you do. It makes you say anything in the hope of feeling better. Worse, I believed them, I was complicit in the self-deception. I wanted to believe that something could come out of nothing. What else can you do?
What I did? I cried. It seemed endless. When I wasn’t crying on the outside, I was crying on the inside. Even now I’m gripped with the sorrow of loss. I’d never cried at death before probably because I was too young to appreciate it. But I’m getting now to the age where death is happening around me more than new life.
There were predators around too. People who came and offered condolences and confidences and then traded them on the social media market for entertainment. People who preyed upon the hurt and weakness of others. I can’t believe the people who did that. And the people who turned on me. I can understand the reaction of one person and I accept it though I miss her every day. Especially while I’m sailing, and in the sunshine.
I’m haunted by his death and I see his picture every day. I’m haunted by the poor decisions I made in the wake of his death because I now know I ruined something that I would have wanted forever. All I can say to explain is that I had some sort of breakdown. I have no other frame of reference. It was madness. I want to write more but I know this post will already be dissected by people online. I know that someone will enjoy stripping it apart and laughing at my misfortune. I know that every tweet and instagram post is analysed, interpreted (often wrongly) and reacted to and attacked.
2015 was a shit year. It began with the disintegration of my marriage, the eventual separation, the revelations of deceit, the death of family, attacks by people I thought were at least allies and the loss of a friend forever. I’ve spoken about this before but I’m not over it all yet. Something else may come out.