Thoughts on loss…

After moaning about feeling low last month I can sadly confirm that when you are already low, life will kick you down when you try to get back up. In this case my beautiful but slightly mental golden retriever decided he’d go AWOL on a dog walk and almost killed himself in the process. After around 30 minutes evading the dog walker he finally returned home covered in blood and exhausted after running around Britain’s most densely populated city for roughly 3 miles. I took Monty to the vets and he was given a cautionary ‘okay’ and I’m happy to say that the beast is slowly on the mend.

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I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing him this chilled again soon.

Nevertheless, when I got back into my car from the vets and saw Monty panting in the back I erupted into tears. I started to hyperventilate as a sort of panic/relief set in. I really do not know how to describe it and I guess that’s my point really. I’m sat in my car, with just my bloody dog for company and I’m failing to cope with what had happen. I should have been prepared for this surely?

Crappy events haven’t just affected me. Two of my good friends recently lost a parent to cancer, my work mate lost her father today and over the last few months there’s been a painful level of loss for friends and family alike. I’d lost grandparents before and when my cousin tragically died on holiday I thought I knew how to deal with grief. I became hardened, more pragmatic and my attitude towards death was to try and avoid it by looking after yourself. Cancer, it would seem, is not a fair judge of suitability.

One of the shittiest things I’ve ever had to do was to tell my wife, Lucy, and my brother in law, Daren, that their father had died. Like many others, Dave died of cancer but it was still months earlier than any of us expected. I received the tearful, heartbroken, call from my mother in law telling me that Dave had passed away but that she could not face telling her children their father had died. I remember going into automatic, sitting myself in a room at work and dialling through to my wife first and then my brother in law. As soon as I started talking to Lucy she knew that Dave was gone. Hearing her cries of anguish breaks my heart to this day. Telling Daren was a little easier – but only because he seemed to be in a state of shock. This is the first time I’ve talked about this.

When you’re a kid you watch shit like The Lion King and it apparently teaches you about loss. You might have had a friend at school who lost a parent but you just didn’t ask about it. It. Death. No one seemed to talk to me about death and whenever it happened you’re given carte blanche on how to deal with it. I’m not sure whether this should change or not?

Lucy has been an amazing inspiration for me. She lost her father, a grandfather and a grandmother in a few short years. She was stricken with grief at certain times but has somehow managed, not only to get through, but to somehow do a science degree in the process. Last Friday she took the call from our friend who has lost her mother. She was amazing on the phone. Supportive, understanding and able to express her support with the confidence of someone who knew exactly how our friend felt. I wouldn’t have been able to do the same in the same position because I only know how to give bad news it seems.

I don’t know. This is a bit of a conflicted ramble so sorry about the lack of focus. I just knew I needed to talk about the thoughts in my head and share them with others. I guess that’s all we can ever do really. Talk and hope somebody, somewhere, listens. I’ll be less gloomy soon but to the many people who have lost someone these last couple of weeks I just want to say I am thinking of you and if you need anything at all, please ask.

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