As you may be aware, over the last few months, I’ve published a number of blog posts entitled “Managing Grief” and in them have given a number of practical suggestion on things which may help you following a bereavement. What you may not however be aware of, is that just over a week before I posted my first “Managing Grief” blog post, my Dad had just passed away, and that just 6 weeks after Dad’s passing, my aunt (my Mum’s one remaining sister) also passed away. I have therefore felt that shared my very real experiences of managing grief, may in some small way help someone else cope with their grief a little bit better.
Last week I was out for dinner with my Mum and, as is often the case, the conversation got onto Dad and Aunt Mae, and about how difficult Mum was finding it to cope on a daily basis. At one point Mum said to me, “You seem to be dealing with it ok”, and I just responded by saying that I had my moments!
Moments! A little bit of an understatement by me, as while I may look as if I’m coping well with Dad and Aunt Mae’s dead, inwardly I’m a bit of a wreck! I’ve been putting on a “brave face” with Mum ever since we were originally told they could do no more for Dad, as I knew she needed me to be strong for her. That hasn’t meant I’m strong all the time, as I definitely have my moments, normally when in the privacy of my own home…
However I certainly wasn’t in any kind of private place yesterday when thinking of Dad and Aunt Mae, my emotions got the better of me. I was in fact sitting in the middle of our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band), in the middle of our morning service, when events and the music conspired to get the better of me!
Before I’d left the house to go the morning service I’d been reading this week’s Salvationist (a SA weekly publication), and had discovered the tribute (including photo) of my Aunt Mae was in this week’s edition…well that got me emotional before I even left the house!
During our service we sang Lord I Come To You (The Power of Your Love), which has been a very special song to me for a number of years. As I tried to sing, I just thought about those I’d lost, and so I could sing no more because of my tears…My worst nightmare had happened, falling apart in public!
It didn’t get any better as the band piece was In The Love Of Jesus, which always reminds me of my Aunt Mae (and my Gran), so again I found my tears started…I think I only managed to play the first few bars of the music before I had to stop again.
Everyone who loses a loved one has particular things which remind them most about them. You may have guessed by now, that for me, that thing is music! As a family, music has always been a huge pat of our lives and thus so much music reminds me of those I’ve lost. I also find playing in the band very difficult too (not because I don’t want to play), as I play trombone…so did Dad, and he was always the one I turned to for advice on alternative slide positions etc. I remember from a very young age, climbing up on the huge piano stool beside my Dad, to “help” him with his music compositions; I also remember as a young junior soldier, in the days when I sang solos, gathering round the piano at Gran and Aunt Mae’s to be taught my latest solo.
So why am I telling you all this? It was the 21st of February Dad died and the 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, i.e. a few months ago, but I still miss them loads, particularly my Dad…and that ok! God knows we’re hurting, and knows it will take us time to grieve. Likewise our friends and other family members also don’t expect us to get over the loss of a loved one in week or two. Therefore, don’t be afraid to admit to yourself and to others that you are still finding it difficult coping with the death of your loved one, months or even years later!
Finally I’d just like to say a huge thanks to those at Bellshill Salvation Army who have been particularly supportive in these last few weeks and months (you know who you are), I have appreciated your support more than you can imagine, thank you.