I feel a bit like a painting. As in, when you put a wash on to begin a watercolour, if it’s terrible, then it doesn’t matter what else you paint on top of it; that terrible base will always be there. If everything you paint is good, then people may not notice the wash. But if you do something wrong, then that terrible wash will come to the forefront with a vehemence that cannot be ignored. My wash is my grief. If everything else is ‘ok’, mostly I can get by without my grief taking over. But if something happens that’s difficult or bad, the grief swells up from the depths of my stomach and overpowers everything else. Most of the time both things seem to rattle along – the normality of doing the washing alongside the fact that I have lost my baby, the loss of all the things I imagined for us. They sort of battle a bit sometimes – sometimes doing the washing becomes thoughts of washing baby clothes, or I wash something that I wore in hospital and it gives me a shock to remember that I wore those pyjamas for the first time just before my baby boy died. But sometimes the grief takes over, and sometimes it happens because something else tips the balance. This is when I get ratty with Sam, or angry with everyone for doing nothing, or something, or everything. It’s very tiring to have all these different threads of your life going on at once – all the inner dialogue chattering away. It’s so strange to be so utterly conflicted and sad, and to seem perfectly normal on the surface (most of the time). That’s why I think back to when I’d collapsed and it was peaceful, and I wonder when I will find peace again.
Today my grief is being well covered by all the stuff on top – I don’t really know where the day’s gone so far but I guess my list explains it – so far today I have:
- Walked the dog
- Done the grocery shopping
- Trimmed the borders in the garden
- Watered the garden
- Planted some plants
- Staked my tomatoes
- Packed a bag ready to go and stay with some friends this weekend
- Sorted quite a bit of washing
- Hoovered downstairs and cleaned the kitchen floor
- Put a curry in the slow cooker, made dal and stuff to have with papadums
On my list was also to wash my hair, but I’m not sure I can be bothered now (washing my hair is a pretty huge job – for those of you who don’t know me I have a HUGE amount of very thick, very curly hair and it gets very knotty and needs a lot of TLC to make it look anything close to normal and less like a lion’s mane having been permed and treated with electrocution…).
So, the ‘wash’ is always there, normally as that slight feeling of ‘knottiness’ in my stomach, it’s just that sometimes it’s less obvious. I find that being busy doing relatively pleasant things helps to keep it in the background, at the moment anyway.