Feeling everything and nothing at the same time

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Jenny wrote to Let’s Talk About Loss to share her feelings, eighteen months into her journey of grief. We hope you find this post helpful. Get in touch to share your own story.

Some days I feel everything, every emotion you can imagine. Other days I feel nothing.

I’m eighteen months into this whole grieving process now and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that your mind finds a way of protecting you sometimes. There will be days you don’t feel like the pain is overwhelming you anymore.

Some days, like today, I wake up and the tears will just flow, I’ll feel the horrible pain and realisation that you are no longer here, that the one person I thought I’d have by my side through life is gone. On other days I will feel numb, nothing, just emptiness. It’s these days I know my mind is protecting me from the pain.

After too many of the numb days, I’ll feel guilty I haven’t cried for a while. I’ll do anything I can to try and make myself feel something. I start to think about the most painful memories. I see the image of you in tears, trying to come to terms with that fact you have had your future taken from you, you won’t be able to do all those things you wanted to do.

I’ll picture the last time you were wheeled from your flat into the ambulance. I’ll think about the worst journey I’ve ever been on, taking you to the hospice. I’ll remember running down the corridor in the hospice when I was told you were taking your last breaths. I want that feeling of grief to hit me again like I’ve just been punched in the chest, because somehow, that makes me feel closer to you still.

It’s hard to let ourselves be happy when such a big part of life is now missing but it’s important to know those days you feel nothing or feel numb are ok, it allows us to cope and keep going.

Eighteen months ago I would have struggled to believe that there would be a day I wouldn’t cry, but the grief has become less overwhelming for me over time. I’m not saying it goes away completely, but you find ways of living with it.

I always try and keep in my head one of the last things my brother said to me – ‘live the best little life you can Jen’. So I will, for me and for him. It’s taken me some time to allow myself to start doing this again but I’m getting there.

Grab the happy days with both hands and allow yourself to feel happy again. I will be as I know my brother would want me to!

Jenny Bannister

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