Do not write off having counselling as a ‘weak act’ or ‘how is talking going to help!’ it is one of the hardest but MOST beneficial things I have ever done. And really if I’m honest even though I’ve been going since July last year… we ain’t really started… 35 years of stuff takes a while to untangle… yes I’m there because of bereavement but bereavement throws your WHOLE life into the air, and things you thought weren’t issues suddenly become issues, and things that were issues suddenly aren’t. It’s hard to explain. I started going cause I knew I had no mechanisms for coping with the enormity of John’s passing away, what it’s shown me is there’s a little more to it than me just getting mechanisms to cope…. I have to do things differently now, I have to deal with things differently now, I have to answer questions that I’ve shoved away, I have to reflect on things that I haven’t wanted to. I am amazed at how God has used it, in ways I haven’t even been able to see at times and I still can’t fully articulate. I’m not looking forward to Tuesday when I have my next session… cause I can feel something coming up and it’s gonna take every single ounce of strength and determination within me to not push it down or skirt round it like I have for so many years…

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Back at the dentist. Never known physical pain like the past three days. Literally thought I was going to pass out at church yesterday. It is unbearable. Spoke to a retired dentist whose a friend of mine and worked specifically on jaw pain and tension and he confirmed it’s anxiety related. It’s weird cause I don’t feel particularly anxious… it must be an subconscious thing. But how do you deal with something that is subconscious? Am I pretending to trust the Lord? Is it just words? And what does all that mean if so? What a strange cycle I am in. Subconsciously anxious which causes pain which makes me tense which makes the pain worse which then causes conscious anxiety which leads to tension, which causes pain and round we go. Kind a feel a bit sorry for my Bereavement counsellor tomorrow…. hoping The Lord and herself can help.

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Saturday nights

My t shirt is wet with the tears it has collected. It’s Saturday night. I can’t stand Saturday nights now, they are like glaring reminders of John’s absence. I loved Saturday nights with John, and he loved them too with me, it was always cosy chill out time when we got the rare opportunity when we were alone, or not preparing for an event at church. Now they are so boring and empty, the contrast is too stark for me to handle. Hate it. The grief I feel is so raw. I seriously hate John not being here, it is wrecking me.

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Haven’t written for a little bit. Have had posts in my mind, but out thought them, if you know what I mean. The anniversary was strange, the days leading up to it were very dark, the day itself I was kept occupied by my sister, but broke when we lit a candle for John in Westminster Cathedral. Now I’m on the other side of the anniversary I am still thinking about this time last year, and how I was and it is really a blur. Hate seeing the valentines stuff in the shops, it stings this year as last year I was still in shock. I really have no idea what to do with myself again. A year is a boundary marker of time and normally it can catapult people into different things but for me when it comes to grief I still feel very much that I to keep the status quo for a while longer. Had a really bad asthma attack last night, on the verge of ringing an ambulance but it calmed down just in the nick of time. Feel truly awful today, like I’ve been in a fight. If I’m honest I should really go and get checked over, however, there are 2 problems- first I couldn’t stand walking into the hospital, that would knacker me right up, and secondly, I don’t feel the cold would be good for me to be out in. So going to try and weather it in the house for today and hope and pray for the best.

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Terrible overwhelming grief this morning and its only 9.20am. I am trying to get to church as some of my dear friends are being prayed out as missionaries today and I want to support them but I’m worried I am unable to drive as I’m crying so much. Even as I type this the tears are streaming down my face. I’m trying to regain a bit of composure so that I can make it to church… but church might just be way too much today. All I can think of is this time last year and how its a year next Tuesday that John went to be with the Lord and it is hurting me so much, trying so hard not to clench my jaw or grind my teeth, but still my tooth hurts. I’m totally exhausted. Even if I get to church the pain may be unbearable. They are doing a presentation next week to remember John which is such a beautiful thing to do and I am so grateful and blessed by my church, I honestly love them so much, and obviously, I want and need to be there for that, but I am really scared as I just don’t know how I will do it. I am looking back on the days when I was still in shock with such fondness as I realise I  could just drift through things. Maybe the shock will come back..I’m kind of wishing it will… just to get me through next Sunday, to be fair I wish it would come back at any moment and last a week and a half, so I wouldn’t have to feel this overwhelming crushing grief that is debilitating me so badly.

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(Some of) The physical effects of grief

Last week I came down with a terrible toothache that went up through my eye socket, to the middle of the top of my head and all the way down my right side of my neck. Excruciating.  I have not had a lot of toothache like that in my life. I am however scared of dentists due to when I was younger a dentist taking one of my teeth out (cause I had too many…) and who didn’t use enough anaesthetic… so I try my best to keep out of dentist surgeries. However, this pain was not like anything else I had experienced, so I got through the weekend dosed up on painkillers and scraped through to Monday where I promptly rang the dentist and got an emergency appointment. After visibly shaking with fear in the waiting room I was called through by a Northern Irish Lady, who was actually lovely and so settled my fears quiet quickly, she did an x-ray and poked and prodded and tapped my teeth. “Hmmm,” she said. “There isn’t any infection or dying or dead teeth. After thinking for a minute she said: “Have you been under a lot of stress lately?” “Grief?” I answered, “That would do it! Was it someone close?” So I explained about John and she was very sensitive and asked questions, and she explained that I was probably grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw without realising it. Seeing as there was nothing else obvious wrong she said she would see how I get on and come back in 2 weeks and I should keep an eye on it. I thought I would give her the benefit of the doubt as, you know, she was a dentist and I wasn’t. Fast forward to Monday evening at my Bible College and they are praying for about someone who died suddenly (They had warned me they were going to be praying about it, which was very sweet, kind and thoughtful of them.) And because it was emotional I was about to cry so tried to hold it in, (as how selfish to start crying about John and my own grief when they are praying for someone else!) and sure enough there it was, clenched jaw, teeth grinding. OUCH! And then I thought back to all the times I had held back my tears over the past year, and to be fair, it’s a wonder I have any teeth left!! When I am out in public I ALWAYS hold in my emotion… poor teeth. Because I have been having paracetamol and ibuprofen interchangeably to manage the pain, today I forgot what I had taken 2 hours before then had to wait to make sure I wasn’t having more than I should have been of one of them, which time landed when I was in bereavement counselling, so had to go without any painkillers trying desperately not trying to grid my teeth or clench my jaw.. but I must have done one or the other as I was in agony when I came out and was howling by the time I got home. Just gonna see how it goes really, but I am aware of it now, so hopefully can contain it a little.  It may be that I am doing in my sleep, I don’t think that I am, but I do know that I cry in my sleep so there is a possibility. Ugh. I hate grief.

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Little things, not so little… part 2

Friend came round to help sort out kitchen so new lodger could have space for her food and kitchen bits. This means sorting through the cupboards to put some stuff down the cellar as John had a LOT of utensils and pans and ramekins, basically you name it he had it, the cellar is full of stuff too, as he loved to entertain loads of people every week and cook for church events. So she has been helping me, get stuff out of cupboards and decides what stays in the kitchen, and even just the process of one cupboard made me lose it. It is sooooooooo painful. My gosh. It’s not as if I’m even chucking the stuff out, I’m just putting it somewhere else, but I can’t control the grief or the pain. It’s only a cupboard and some pots and pains and you would think it was a massive deal… 😭 Urg. I hate this, truly I do. It’s taken me almost a year to do this much. There is absolutely no way on this earth I can even consider doing the wardrobe or his clothes, even the thought brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. I cannot stand this, it’s too much for me to bear…

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