Grief is such a personal thing – no two experiences are ever going to be the same. In this particular case, there’s quite a mixture of emotions involved for me. I couldn’t talk about it, my voice wouldn’t work, so my only alternative was to write.
So I sat down at my laptop and I wrote.
To my Aunt,
I know we haven’t spoken for quite a few years, but that doesn’t change this situation. You’re gone. It’s hard, but it had to be said.
The last few months have been difficult since we knew you were living on borrowed time. I grieve for my loss, but the empathy is worse. I grieve for my grandmother who has to bury her child, my mother who has lost a sister, for my cousins who’ve lost a parent.
My head is full of noise, like I’m stood in the centre of a busy junction. Feelings rush around me and I’m conflicted: anger, sadness, frustration. A wave of sadness crashes over me, pushing everything else down. My voice breaks, and I can’t speak.
And then there’s silence. I feel nothing, I’m empty. I’m alone and so removed from the world. I need something, anything to distract me, but I can’t focus.
I feel like I shouldn’t be this sad. I’ve not cared for so many years, you’ve caused too much pain and left too much devastation in your wake. I want to be angry for how you’ve treated people, I want to be able to care less about all of this.
But at the end of this, at the end of everything, you are still a part of me. You are still my family.
I will always have fond memories of you from when I was younger. Days spent together at Christmas, your love for that awful Savage Garden song. I’m glad that I’ll remember you from the past, and not the way you were in the end. So fragile and broken, after years of self-destruction.
And that’s why I can’t avoid the sadness. How can we be mad at you? How can we not feel for you? You never intended for this. You never wanted to end up like this.
I know that no one could ever have saved you, no matter what they did. But that doesn’t make the grieving any easier.
I hope you found peace, in the end.