When life is feeling good, you can get sideswiped by grief and it can really set you back, but is it something you do to yourself?
Hi, I am Janet Jones, founder of Happiness Millionaire. Welcome to my conversations with my rock on the beach, Sylvia-Rose. She helps navigate the next chapter of my life, the chapter without my 22-year-old son, Murray. Join these musings about life, grief and loss with my rock, Sylvia-Rose. To learn why she is called Sylvia-Rose and how and why we met, I invite you to read my first blog - 'If Rocks Could Talk, meet Sylvia-Rose'. You could also register to have these bogs delivered to your email inbox so you never miss them. Click the FOLLOW SYLVIA-ROSE button.
SR - Hey! I would say Happy New Year but things don’t look so happy?
Jan - No. I am exhausted and feel disconnected again. I think it is the comedown from Christmas and New Year.
SR - You were doing really well and determined to have a lovely festive season.
Jan - I was. I felt the light and joy. It gave me the strength to enjoy Christmas. I wanted that for Iona and Lewis. I didn’t feel we could keep limping along. I wanted change. I wanted happiness.
SR - You were doing all the right things. Where did it go wrong?
Jan - I miss Murray so much I ache in every cell of my being. So it was probably with my expectation of growing and learning through grief and believing I had some
Superpower! I don’t know. Call me crazy.
SR - I guess there is no straight line to healing and it is normal to miss your son.
Jan - There is another thing. All this time my brain has been protecting me from visiting Murray’s last breath. The thought would creep into my mind but I would push it away. I couldn’t handle it.
SR - It sounds like it was always going to come as get you.
Jan - And it did. I was watching Westside Story with a friend. I don’t know why I didn’t join the dots. I knew the male character, a 20 year old man, died at the end. It wasn’t so much that he died but the vision of him on the floor fighting for his last breath. For me, that was Murray. That was the image I have been avoiding. It broke me. I still haven’t processed it yet. The other sad thing was that I tried talking it out with my friend but he just told me to stop ‘doing’ this to myself. He couldn’t take it and left me in the pub where we were eating.
Am I doing this to myself? Am I doing the grief? I tried to explain how the grief is always there even when it looks like I am happy, which often I am! But the grief always sits under my skin. I am not sure I can keep going like this for the rest of my life. The pain is back. That black ball of pain, only now I am not feeling strong enough to turn it to light and love, so it has me.
SR - First of all, no one ‘does’ grief to themself. Grief is a real emotion and it takes time to transform it into the love and joy you felt before Christmas and I guess, from what we have seen, there is always a chance it will reappear when you least expect it.
Jan - It never went away, it just generally appears when I am home alone where I can nurture my heart and my longing for Murray.
The memory of when he had his car accident in 2017, and I went to Edinburgh, where he was living, and surprised him. I can hear him say, with joy in his voice ‘Mum, what are you doing here?’ I said ‘My boy needs me.’ ‘I do, mum’ he replied, and we hugged each other. My arms feel so empty. So empty now, they ache.
SR - I am so sorry to hear the year has got off to this start for you. The most important thing is to take care of yourself.
Jan - This is such a lonely road, Sylvia-Rose. I just hope I have the strength to ride this wave. I am always so brave for everyone else. The truth is, I just want to hide under my duvet. I had to force myself here today. I know walking is good for the soul but it took enormous effort. I am back to congratulating myself for achieving the smallest thing. ‘Well done for doing your teeth.’ ‘Well done for getting your hiking boots on...’ etc...
- I remember my mum saying people don’t want you when you are miserable. I guess my friend demonstrated that
SR - I don’t think that is true. I guess some people can sit with others in their pain and others can’t. I am wishing for this wave of grief to pass for you. It will pass when it is meant to. Be easy and sit with it. Don’t rush past this or it will be coming back.
Jan - I won’t. I have been holding my heart and imagining the white light of love from Murray and my mum and dad. It hasn’t brought immediate change. I feel I need more sleep. I haven’t felt this way for a long time.
SR - Keep your mind on the fact that you have come through this before. You can do it again and you will no doubt be all the stronger for it or have a better understanding of life and your place in it. I hope some of this has helped you. Enjoy a peaceful walk back.