I loved the series ‘After Life’ by Ricky Gervais. His character Tony found that life without his late wife Lisa was meaningless. Feeling like he had nothing to live for, he spent his days being uncomfortably insensitive to his colleagues, the postman, supermarket workers and even children. Wearing his armour of grief, he navigated his way through bereavement being politically incorrect and at times just bloody horrible. It felt awkward to watch but it was also bloody brilliant!
One day my hubby Bill turned into this Ricky Gervais character after Matthew died. He’d gone to the local shop to buy some milk, but he was not impressed when he had to join a very long queue at the checkout. With only one check out operator on, the manager came out and started dancing to the piped music that was being played in the store. Bill was not impressed with this and in front of the queue of smiling customers, Bill informed the manager that he would prefer it if he served behind the counter. The lady behind the checkout said, “ah, he just wanted to make people smile” but Bill replied that he didn’t want to smile, he just wanted his milk! Grief had removed his filters.
I remember Bill telling me that nothing would ever hurt him or impact him as much as the pain of losing his son, Matthew. With this newfound outlook on life he no longer felt the need to pander to other people or do anything he didn’t want to do. I totally understood where he was coming from because I felt the same.
I have lived with grief for three years now. It has become my trusty friend and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Don’t feel sad for me or think I am a victim because it has bought so much more to my life. It’s not something I would have chosen and I’m not saying my life is better now, but it’s my new reality and I have made peace with it, plus, it has given me a new superpower called – I Don’t Give A Fuck! My superpower has been tamed but Bill is still working on his.
I no longer worry about things in life that I can’t control, and I feel more relaxed with life in general knowing that change is inevitable and that nothing is permanent. I value time with the people I love and enjoy positive experiences like family time, a cup of coffee with friends, a walk in nature, music, time alone, being present, the smell of rain or freshly cut grass. I now really appreciate what is important in life and I don’t spend time thinking about all the other unimportant stuff. What comes with this superpower is a new level of contentment and peace which brings with it a deeper meaning to life.
Has it made it made me a hard person? Not at all. It doesn’t stop me missing Matthew, but it has given me a fresh perspective on life. There’s a gift in everything and long may my superpower last!
Bill on the other hand is still having his Ricky Gervais moments!
I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was a sad time that followed the death of
someone you love.
And you had to push through it.
To get to the other side.
There is no pushing through.
But rather, there is absorption.
And grief is not something that you complete,
but rather you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish and move on,
but an element of yourself, an alteration of your being.
A new way of seeing.
A new definition of self.
© Gwen Flowers – Printed with permission