Grief is an unwelcome yet unavoidable bedfellow. We’ve all heard of the five stages of grief the widely- recognised universal stages of mourning. But like many challenges, knowing of them and experiencing them are two different things.
In April, our family lost someone special to breast cancer. Just 48. A wife, mum, daughter, sister, sister in law, daughter in law, aunt, friend, colleague. Gone after eight years battling. The loss is still raw, the void impregnable.
So as we work through the stages in our different ways, we slowly adjust to a new reality. (I was tempted to write new normal but it doesn’t feel normal for our family to be without this special person so I’ll go for reality instead).
At the moment, I’m processing via action. By that I mean, I am taking a leaf out of my sister in law’s book. I am doing stuff for me and not putting off experiencing and doing things til when I have more time/money/energy.
First I signed up for Dry July. It’s a fundraising campaign where participants abstain from alcohol for a month and invite people to sponsor them. Funds raised go towards an awesome programme called Look Good Feel Better which supports women and men undergoing treatment for cancer.
Next I went and got my makeup done. Sounds so trite written down but here’s the thing, my sister in law was big on doing whatever makes you happy and doing it now. I hadn’t had my make up done since a school formal (ball) when I was 17 and have used the same products ever since. I didn’t get my make up done professionally for our wedding, have never had a manicure/pedicure. The rationale being I had more pressing things to spend my money on.
On Monday I cautiously ventured into a glitzy department store and met a lovely consultant. The session cost $70 redeemable on product so given the cost of product, I got my money back, learned a few skills and felt like a Queen.
Thirdly, I started writing again. For me. Just for me, not for income, not to meet a deadline, not because I feel I should.
So thanks to Paula for all the lessons she taught me, the joy she brought us and the motivation she has given us to be the best people we can be.