On grief


Eight years ago today I lost my father. Eight years, and I have thought about him every single day. It’s not always sad, often it’s to smile at a happy memory, but sometimes it’s as sharp and real as a twisting knife. Usually it’s bittersweet, because he is no longer able to share in my life. I always wonder what he would think of me now. Would he enjoy coming to Switzerland to visit? Would he like my husband? (he would) Would he be proud of me?

On today’s anniversary I have a new child who I will never be able to introduce to her grandfather, and maybe that’s why it hurts so much this year. It makes the loss more real. It’s a funny thing about grief – it really does not ever go away. They say time heals all wounds but that’s crap. Time makes the pain more manageable. And it does hurt. It’s a rip-you-open physical pain, the most pain I’ve ever experienced. I have no doubt that people do die of broken hearts. It’s the grief, the emptiness, that can tear you apart. There are many cliches about how grief is like a scar for a reason. That’s exactly what it is like. Grief is a big, deep, ugly scar that sometimes pulls the wrong way and you’re always aware of it. Sometimes it will ache sharply before it rains.

And I do ache. I ache for me, and for my children who will never meet him. I ache on his behalf, because he is beyond longing. But it’s a good thing, this grief, don’t ever let anyone tell you different. It reminds me daily how much I want to meet my grandchildren – hell, how much I want to meet my great grandchildren. And most of all, it is good because it means you loved. The flip side of love isn’t hate – it’s grief. To have one is to have the other and it’s worth it every time.

Eight years later I still miss you, Dad, and love you every day.


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