A Kind of Mourning

By Alison April 13, 2021 No Comments 4 Min Read

Perhaps then, this is the natural order of things. Turning pages. Starting new chapters. The bewildering evaporation of all that we have known – a slate life wipes clean for us, because attachment, pain or dependency keeps us tied to all that is clogging up our emotional arteries.

This is what I know: we can never understand who people really are until their loyalty is tested and they do not choose us in a war we wanted no part in. Rejection on such an intimate scale cuts horribly deep and all one’s usual coping mechanisms are suddenly useless. It is I suppose a kind of mourning for what was. For something forever changed: for how are we to pick up the pieces of something so far removed from anything we could imagine a person capable of? When do we have no choice but to stop begging to be heard? Stop reminding those who have shoved us into the dark, that we still love them so very much and we remain so willing to set betrayal aside? When do we have no choice but to create the closure for ourselves, that they in their resounding, needling silence, will not provide?

There are books in all our lives we did not want to close. Real and metaphorical. Stories that don’t feel finished. Characters that stay with us long after their story has been told. Loved one’s who had no choice but to leave. And then there are those who slam the books shut for us. Those who wrap padlocks around their hearts and pretend theirs is a story we have no business sharing and thereafter block all avenues into their lives: so calls go straight to answer machines and texts cannot be sent.

And, oh God, how it hurts. For yes: it is a kind of mourning. The kind that comes wrapped in barbed wire rage for those who are to blame. Not the elegant silence of the way I mourned for my Mum, as I came to terms with her fatal heart attack in the only way I knew how. But instead a bumbling, ugly, blubbering all-consuming terror that has got me weeping in supermarkets and feeding my poor Coeliac son a meal laden with wheat after fifteen years of always making certain that he could trust me not to do anything of the sort.

So it has to stop. My own child matters more than the broken little girl inside me and it is no longer acceptable to ask him to bear witness to my pain. To have him vomiting up my distress. Months have gone by now without acknowledgment and though I have always been certain that this relationship now apparently lost was fundamental to my wellbeing, I have to come to terms with a new chapter in both our lives. Chapters written in separate books because any reader has to be able to trust that the characters in her most beloved stories will not abandon her without explanation. Will not suddenly develop characteristics that alter the trajectory of a story so completely it almost seems to make a lie of all that went before.

So a new chapter. Here, there and everywhere. For I am boring you and boring myself now. Though my writing has always been the only route to clarity I was capable of treading, (Honestly, I am not half as articulate in real life: I giggle and mutter and words trip over themselves and I chuck lines from songs in-between words in quite the mad fashionin short, I am a little round the bend.), I am also capable of recognising when crying out loud has served its purpose and once clarity has been bought for the price of a sentence, it is time to turn the page. It has always been this way. It is the only way I know.

I have got work to do. Stories to tell. Websites to right. Arms to fall back into. Distress has caused much of what mattered to fall apart, but grief itself stalks a particular path and after the disbelief, the rage, the bargaining, and the depression, there comes acceptance and acceptance is nothing if not a platform on which to water what already exists: to shift our navel-facing gaze outwards again and tell our rather angry son we will never again serve him a maple syrup burger laden with gluteny poison. We will come mindfully back into the rooms we have been merely existing in and be present for those we still matter to and we will pick up the pieces of a business we treasure and send apologies to those who have endured us as we tried to make sense of something that is so unjust, even the most talented of writer would struggle to make it ring true.

I am turning the page. But I will never close the book. For, it is hope, not grief that is a thing with feathers. Let the work begin.

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