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Excuse me taking the easy/lazy option, but, in light of the news from Balmoral, I thought I’d find a link!

 

In my presentation I talk about brain injury and how it moves into the distinctly choppy waters of emotions, and how these emotions are affected by other similar, but very different things, such as  

  • Dementia

  • Loss of a job (even retirement)

  • A change of circumstances 

  • Loss of a loved one

And I wish to focus, in light of the Queens death, on the last of these – the loss of a loved one!

Something most of us have experienced at some point in our lives – the loss of a loved one!

 

“We grieve because we love.

How lucky we are to have experienced that love!”

There is probably nothing that changes your life more than the death of a loved one. Especially one taken before “their time”, but at any stage dealing with the emotions are horrible!

 

But the statement above sums up why it hurts, and I always say to people that “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”!

 

Many men of my generation are often known, and loved, for our sense of humour, especially in a crisis. 

Even in grief, we make people laugh and make everything a joke!

 

But please understand our “flippancy” is not disrespectful, it’s our coping mechanism (as men of my generation aren’t allowed to show grief or emotions! Because “Boys don’t cry!!”)

 

Our humour has the ability to reduce the most serious situation to just a joke, but don’t think we don’t care - we do!!

 

I remember always believing that no one could be upset around “the chaps” for too long. My male predecessors never showed tears, only tears of laughter.

If in doubt, there’s always a joke - this was my “mantra”!

 

Personally, over the years I’ve been told I am

·      a rock (I hope I heard that right! And there’s the joke again!),

·      my “sounding board” and

·      my best friend. 

And if I’m honest, I am a best friend to many. 

 

And, I’ve been brought up not to be big headed, or show off, and I know that sounds that way! So, that’s been hard to write!!

 

But really, I do know I have this innate ability to connect with anyone and everyone.

Whether it was a CEO of a big FTSE 100 company, a friend, a builder, a family member— I can make other people feel so special, and loved, that they all see a relaxed confident person when they look at me. 

If only they really knew!

 

I usually play the good cop, in the family, the “soft one” not because I want to, but because 

·        I want to be loved

·        I hate confrontation 

 

For my family, when I was in hospital, it must have been hard to imagine life without me.

But I was in no pain at the time and “recovery” (whatever that is) has done nothing for me, except increase the guilt and sometimes make me regret “coming back to life”!

 

Every time I think of the days in the ICU, and hospital, when “my heart stopped” and my family’s hearts continued to beat, I feel so engulfed by guilt.

 

While the time after that moment is sometimes a blur, I remember convincing myself that I had to “keep it together” for the sake of my family and friends. Even though I just wanted to die!

 

I still cry, usually when alone, and still feel that I’ve let the family down, even when logic says I wasn’t to blame for the accident!

THE “TAKEAWAY” – GRIEF IS UNSTOPPABLE, BUT IT ONLY HAPPENS IF YOU’VE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO LOVE!

SO, TAKE THE POSITIVE, EVEN IN A GRIEF SCENARIO.

 

 

By internalising everything that I was feeling, I was helping no one and was definitely not helping myself.

Though I’ve never been one to ask for help, I had a great support team and family in the days after my accident. 

But by “keeping it all in” (everything that I was feeling), I was helping no one, and definitely not helping myself. 

 

Grief, I have learned, is not something we can just move through or “get on with”! 

It is something that is a part of us and longs to be embraced. 

 

Ironically, I was able to feel genuinely happy for the first time, only after I accepted my grief. But messages such as;

·      “Man Up”

·      “Get on with it”

·      “Why you crying?”

set me back every time, so please never ever say these things to me or ANYONE who is suffering!

THE “TAKEAWAY” – “LET IT OUT”, KEEPING THINGS UNDER WRAPS ONLY RESULTS IN A LOSE:LOSE SITUATION, WHERE EVENTUALLY AN EXPLOSION OCCURS!

 

 

Grief numbs your body, breaks your heart, and drains your veins, but grief also is just another form of love.

Thinking about what happened sometimes overwhelms me with agony because “old me”is not around anymore, but thinking about that person, and embracing “new me” also fills me with positivity.

 

I think about the hundreds of things I’ve brought to others, and some of the happiest moments of my life that I’ve shared, and it makes me feel incredibly grateful. 

Even in the most difficult moments, I’m aware that I’ve been extremely lucky.

THE “TAKEAWAY” – I’VE NOT DIED BUT THE OLD ME IS GONE. CELEBRATE HIM, BUT EMBRACE THE “NEW ME”, ESPECIALLY AS I’M A BETTER VERSION OF OLD ME!

 

 

We spend so much time talking about things that don't matter and little about things that really do.

The reason grief is very isolating is because talking about death in our world is off-limits.

Death is inevitable and touches all of us, but talking about it is a “complete taboo”. 

Something similar is felt toward talking about the dead. 

Therefore, even the people who care about us the most, seldom dare to touch the forbidden topic. 

We spend so much time talking about things that don't matter in life, yet very little about things that really do. 

THE “TAKEAWAY” – TALK ABOUT DEATH, DON’T BE SCARED OF IT.

RESPECT IT BUT FACE THE FACT AND ACCEPT THAT LIFE GOES ON, AND HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS ALREADY.

YOUR LIFE, OR ANYONES, IS FLEETING IN THE BIG PICTURE – AS THE YOUNGSTERS SAY “YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE”, AND JUST FOR ONCE, THEY KNOW BETTER THAN US OLDIES!!

 

 

I am so happy when someone understands what grief really is and that it comes from a good place

When you lose someone, the last thing you want is to lose memories of them too. 

And the last thing that person would want is for their death to define their whole life. 

Keep your loved ones alive in your conversations, your memories, the way you live because the end of life in no way translates to the end of relationship.

 

Being a sad, analytical person, I spend a lot of time trying to find answers that don’t exist. 

e.g. “Why didn’t I die and get it over with?” Thinking of this question is inevitable and the answers unfathomable. 

I find no solace in religion, spirituality, or the things people said.

However, thinking that there is a “meeting place” for the rest of eternity does provide a modicum of comfort!

 

It was only when I tried to stop making sense of my loss and start making sense of my life that I began to get out of the mess I had created in my head.

THE “TAKEAWAY” – YOU’VE GOT TWO CHOICES, DENY THE PAST OR REMEMBER THE GOOD MEMORIES, IN MY OPINION THE FORMER IS NOT THE RIGHT DECISION, IT’S THE MEMORIES THAT ARE IMPORTANT!

AND……………… YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS TO HAVE HOPE FOR ETERNITY!

 

 

 

Why can’t my parents have celebrated my life, with me instead of others?

I remember talking about my dad to a friend—this friend told me how much he talked about me and how proud he was of me. I just replied “why didn’t he tell me, JUST ONCE!!”

But I did understand why he didn’t, it’s the generational culture of my parents (a habit I’m trying to break with my own children - but it’s tough!! Not because I don’t love them, because, god knows, I do, but it’s “alien” to me to show emotion, as it’s often perceived as weakness!!)

THE “TAKEAWAY” – DON’T TELL OTHERS ABOUT HOW GREAT PEOPLE ARE, TELL THEM!!

THE OLD WAY OF DOING THIS IS EXACTLY THAT, THE OLD WAY. EVEN IF ITS TOUGH, OR ALIEN, SHARE YOUR FEELINGS WITH THOSE YOU LOVE, THE MEMORIES WILL THEN STAY WITH THEM FOREVER!

 

 

So, for all those of you yearning for your loved one, nothing can justify your suffering, and there is no end of grief, but I hope you can see the beauty in grief at the time.

 

We grieve because we love.  And how lucky we are to have experienced that love?

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