Picking Up The Pieces

The unexpected bereavement of a sibling is quite honestly the toughest trial I have ever been through.

How can I equate his incredible vibrancy with the gently quiet procession from his beautiful funeral ceremony, through the woods  and down to his final resting place amongst the trees?

His final journey took fifteen minutes, his coffin carried in front of us. My son held fast to my arm as I stumbled and slipped. Not once did he let me fall. I was near the front, inhaling the scent of sage and comforted by the gentle chanting, leading us down and down, deeper into the wood.

And then. A final goodbye. How to describe the lowering of a coffin containing someone who had so, so much more to give the world? I can’t.

And now we are back in real life, real pressures and deadlines. Moving on with life feels like an utter betrayal. Each day that passes is one more day he did not live. We move further and further away from the day we were all alive, together.

Cleaning the house seems trivial, yet I wander around with a duster. I rearrange ornaments. I light candles.

I’m back in work and the simplicity of it soothes me. Yes, I can do this and yes, I can do that. I can begin a task and end it, tying it up neatly. I can reply to emails. I can print off important information. Food is bought, consumed and reordered. I meet with friends and worry that my eyes frighten them, as they are full of pain and incomprehension.

I look at the chair he sat on in my kitchen. The path he walked up. The place I had my last hug with him, if only I had known.

I look at the plants on my kitchen windowsill and know that he saw them too. I turn the candle he gave me for my birthday, two weeks before his death, in my hands and cannot, just cannot believe this was the last gift he ever gave me. It’s so … solid … and he is not. It’s so real, earthly.

Grief is a curious creature and we all approach it differently. Part of me is energised, wanting to make the most of life, to do what he now cannot. The other part of me wants to curl up and cry. I’m caught between these two forces.

Right now, as long as I can keep running my house, keep on working and keep on studying, I will be ok. He would not expect anything less from me. But the underlying sadness bubbles away, boiling up and spilling over.

At the moment, it is quite literally one foot in front of the other.

Tagged , ,

6 thoughts on “Picking Up The Pieces

  1. Veronica Craven-Romain says:

    On bless you, I’ve not lost a sibling yet, no doubt I will as I’m 1 of 8,but I’ve lost someone I love unexpectedly. You’re doing fine, anything is fine, brief is a different journey for everyone. If there are other siblings, then they will be grieving too, it isn’t just your loss. All you can do is to carry on & remember to do the usual things, the brief will always be there, always hurt as much as it does now, but your life will eventually change, & it won’t always be at the forefront of your mind. He mind to yourself& don’t stop writing.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much! Luckily we seem to be pulling together as a family, which makes life a little easier.
      Writing about it is almost the same about writing about MS – it helps me get my thoughts in order and also lets me know that I’m doing ok, despite everything. Thank you for reading! X

  2. Jonny says:

    Please accept my condolences for the recent passing of your Brother.

  3. Annie Bishop says:

    Very hard for you Barbara

    Annie x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *