In this blog, Amy reflects on grieving for her Dad during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. Get in touch to share your own story or advice for others.
I am sat in my garden, the sun is shining on my face, my husband and son are playing a game (amicably for once) behind me, so why do I feel so dark inside? Why do I feel as if there is a pit in my stomach that is full of despair? Why do I feel guilty for enjoying this moment?
Life as we knew it stopped.
Because on Friday 20th March 2020 we held my Dad’s funeral and on Monday 23rd March, Britain went into ‘lockdown’ due to the Coronavirus. Life as we knew it stopped. No more meeting my sister for coffee, laughing at my nephew, no more gym classes and volunteering.
All of the things that I had been relying on to get me through my grief, all of the things that had been helping me to get up in the mornings, giving my day a purpose, I could no longer do.
I had got into a daily routine of the school run, exercising, then going back to school to help the children with their reading. I enjoyed keeping my mind busy as I’d recently made the decision to quit my job to keep my mental health intact. This routine had stopped me from falling.
Now we’re on lockdown, the dark days have started slowly creeping in and there doesn’t feel like there is an end to this pandemic in sight.
Some days I’m in such a terrible mood; there is nothing my husband can say to me to cheer me up, literally everything he says or does grates on me and I know it is not his fault but I need to be angry at someone, I need to let this emotion out. I’m angry at my Dad too for leaving us, for leaving me feeling this way!
The other morning I watched my wedding video twice over, tears streaming down my face, I just wanted to see my Dad again, laughing, smiling and healthy and as heart breaking as it was to see his face, I must admit it helped ease my sorrow slightly.
It’s so difficult to grieve during this time, when the world has literally been turned upside down, when the news of death and despair is everywhere we turn. I feel silly for mourning the loss of my Dad, when thousands of people are dying every day.
Finding the good
But through all the darkness, I’m lifting my head towards the light; I’m trying to find the positives, the goodness and the joy in every day. On our bike ride yesterday, we cycled down an extremely steep hill; I closed my eyes, let my feet dangle off of the pedals and gave into the moment. It was exhilarating and I was so happy I had done it, just to have those blissful few seconds of freedom… no feelings, no grief, no sadness.
I’m eternally grateful for my husband and son for asking for Coco Pops and coffee every morning and making me get out of bed with a smile on my face. I’m grateful for being able to spend so much time with them; time we never would have had prior to the lockdown. For technology, allowing me to see my nephew and laugh as he learns new words every day. For an incredible sense of community, smiling and greeting neighbours I hadn’t known existed until now. For having the time every day to write and practise yoga, two more things that have helped me an immense amount.
I know there will be many more dark days to come and I do not look forward to them but that is a natural part of grieving. I know that once life goes ‘back to normal’ I will have to start thinking which direction I want my career to go in, get a job, and maybe even explain to new colleagues that my Dad died at 50 years old after a year long battle with cancer.
But for the time being, I’m concentrating on the right now. I’m concentrating on the sun rays, the bird song, my son’s laughter, and the hope that my Dad is looking down on me, smiling saying “You can do this.”
To follow Amy’s journey through grief, you can read her blog “My Dad, Cancer, and I” here.