This Is How I Grieve
Whilst scrolling through BBC News today, I learned that Sophie Perry, Luke Perry’s 18 year old daughter, was being trolled online by “grief-shamers”. She was suffering so much abuse for apparently living her life that she felt the need to have to clarify that she was in fact grieving . I felt so much anger (on her behalf) at this that an audible fuck off escaped - in my open plan (serious) office.
I can empathise with her more than most at the moment, my father self-Brexited (as my siblings and I loving refer to it) a few weeks ago following a short illness. He wasn’t much older than Luke Perry, but if I get another “sorry for your loss” or “should you be back at work?”, I know people mean well but I will scream.
When my father died, at 6.18am on what turned out to be beautiful February day, I took a moment and then sent my boss a quick text saying I wouldn’t be in that day or the probably for the remainder of the week. I then phoned the funeral directors and waited at the hospice for the Doctor to give me his death certificate. I drove home, made a to do list and had a brief nap. When I woke up, I notified relatives and started going through paperwork. Within the week, I had registered the death, sorted the funeral and done most of the paperwork. On the Monday I went back to work, bar the funeral and odd meeting with lawyers, I have been back full time ever since. In fact - if sorting probate were a competition, then I can confirm that I am winning at it.
I have not really cried, nor have I been particularly sad. I have been emotionally tired and feeling drained but I have been combatting this with coffee, laughter and inappropriate death humour. Because here is the thing, this is how I grieve. I have chosen to laugh and not cry. I have chosen to work and not lock myself away. Just because I am female does not mean I erupt in tears at the situation (no judgement to those people who do), but it is not me and will not magically bring my father back to life. It does not make my pain less real, it just makes it less visible.
So why does society expect people, and particularly women, to show that they are mourning? Have we seriously got to the point where if it’s not on social media, it isn’t real? Because if that’s the case, it may be time for me to self-Brexit. Or is it because we don’t want to really deal with it because we’re all too scared to face the reality that we will all one day be biting the dust?
What the last month has taught me is that it’s far less painful to embrace death than to try and ignore it. It has taught me, that you can find humour in almost any situation (playlists for cremations in particular - I recommend “Ring of Fire “and "another one bites the dust”). Of course you should always be kind and no matter how shit you feel, try not to lash out (I'm not so good at this but I have a sister who's diplomacy skills could bring about world peace!). Remember not to compare your grief to that of someone else, it’s not a competition. Chose laughter. Chose life. AND CHOSE YOU.
Article by Amanda Hastings