Thursday, 4 August 2011

This aternoon, I listened to a play on Radio 4 about how grief can bring people together. I don't often listen to the afternoon play these days because I think that, for the most part, modern radio drama has lost its "edge" in the last two or three years. "Stream, River, Sea" by Peter Souter, starring Alex Jennings and Juliet Stevenson, however, held mey attention, and seemed to "tick all the boxes" in my experience, (my husband died four years ago) except one.

When Juliet Stevenson said something like "They say it takes seven years to get over the loss of a loved one," I started to twitch.

Who are "they?" and how on earth do "they" know? Did they just pick a number out of the air? (probably) did they do a national survey? (probably not) and who wants to "get over" the loss of a loved one, anyway? I don't; I'd like to be able to live with it calmly (rather like a scar; it fades and can be forgotten for a time, but every now and then, it itches.)

Surely no one can put a time limit on grief. It's an individual thing which takes as long as it takes, and if it takes the rest of your life, then so be it. I sometimes wish people wouldn't pontificate quite so much.

When my husband died, my sister who has phoned me nearly every day since he was diagnosed with cancer, gave me just one piece of advice which I've never forgotten. When a friend's mother died recently, I turned that advice into a poem and sent it to her and her family.

Come, share your grief, and if it makes you cry
To tell the story of your loss and pain,
Then think of a huge jar of grief, and try
Imagining that those shed tears will drain
The grief away, the level sink, and so
Then, inch by inch, by month, by week by day,
The empty space within the jar will glow
With tiny sparks of hope, where grief held sway.
Yes, it will hurt, but with your falling tears,
The grief inside the jar will sink still more;
And even if its ebbing should take years,
Your grief will fall away and hope will score.
So if grief looms, and hope’s a distant star,
Then let your tears flow freely, and think…..Jar.

Is my grief jar empty?  Will it ever be empty?  Who knows?


Frances Garrood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frances Garrood said...

Wow! That says it all (and I should know!).

(Last comment mine, but so full of typos I had to remove it...)

Rosamund Browne said...

Thanks, Frances. Actually, I had a lump in my throat as I posted it. It gets easier but it doesn't go away