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Happy and sad, the two sides of grief

Hydreangea

Hydreangea

I read through some of my old posts this week, the ones which were all about Roger going into the hospice and how we felt and kind of dealt with it at the time. I can’t lie, it was not easy reading at all and it made me cry. Looking back, I feel really proud that I was able to get those thoughts down on paper and share them on my blog. Writing it all down had many uses – it was a way to order my thoughts, a way of making myself take the time to think about things on my own, and I suppose more than anything it was cathartic. I wrote it down and offloaded, I felt better as soon as I’d shared.

I was grateful that the space I’d created had become something which could help me at my lowest point. I wonder if without it, I would have made the time to sit and think about it all so much, and whether or not I would have managed to connect with others in a similar situation. When I wrote about Roger’s cancer diagnosis I had so many emails from people who had lost a partner or even a parent, and each one touched me and helped me in equal measure.

I thought this outlet would continue and help me through the grieving process, that I’d be able to write my way through the months after my husband’s death and somehow feel better, if that’s the right word to use.

I’ve written a bit about the laziness of grief and how I felt three months on. But recently, I just haven’t known what to say. My posts have focused on the day to day, the things I’ve been doing to feel normal, to try to focus on other things and not dwell so openly about how rubbish things are. Grief is a funny old thing, it takes you on a journey where one minute you’re laughing and smiling and everything seems to be normal and fine. You can find enjoyment in things, have fun, and even feel good. When I look happy, I probably am. When I’m laughing, I genuinely find things amusing. But deep down, I’m always feeling like part of me is missing and just so sad that that special part is never coming back. The thing about grief is that it’s just so darn unpredictable.

Flowers

Over the past few weeks I’ve had happy times, but I’ve also had some of the lowest moments in months. They’ve mostly come at really inconvenient times – be that when I’m at work, when I’m reading the kids bedtime stories, when I’m on the train or even just walking down the street. The pain isn’t going away and it isn’t getting any less.

I’m writing all this but wondering really what the point of it is. I suppose it’s just to say maybe why there have been less personal posts on here lately. I want to write them, but the words just don’t always come. On my own, with two young children and a job, there’s little time for creativity and things I’ve wanted to write have just felt so negative. These posts might help me, but would anyone want to read them? Probably not! I don’t want to be the one moaning about how rubbish things are when most people are gearing up to having a happy family Christmas. I certainly don’t want to look like I’m wallowing or asking for sympathy, because I’m really not.

I’ve thought a lot recently about giving up this blog, but I have Rog in my ear telling me not to give up. So many times I showed him my posts and said, ‘but isn’t it a bit pointless? Who really cares?’ and he used to just shrug and say that people would care, why not share things, isn’t that what writing’s for?

So there you are – a little update from me, about how when I look happy, I mostly am, and when I look sad, I am that too. That’s just all part of the rollercoaster.

x Julia

Autumn leaves

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie
    November 11, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Keep listening to the voice in your ear….that’s the right answer xxxxxxxxxx

  • Reply
    Ann
    November 11, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I think you are very inspiring in many ways. Please don’t stop. Am sure you feel better too xx

  • Reply
    Georgina
    November 11, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog. It’s varied, interesting, warm and above all, feels ‘real’. I loved your ‘Five under £5’ features – my 15 month old twins loved the witches hat headband from Tiger – it solved my problem of not knowing what they could wear for Halloween! xx

  • Reply
    Jenna
    November 11, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Your blog posts aren’t pointless, Julia.

    I think all bloggers/writers have moments of ‘Oh what’s the point?’

    Don’t put pressure on yourself to write certain type of posts or take your blog in any particular direction. Want to say how rubbish you’re feeling? Then say it. Nobody thinks it’s because you want sympathy. It’s because things ARE rubbish.

    Want to write something about a recipe, a craft idea, an item of clothing? Then write about it.

    This is your space, Julia. Do with it what you will. xxx
    Jenna recently posted…The Firstborn TagMy Profile

  • Reply
    Cath
    November 11, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Hiya Julia I know exactly how your feeling hunni as I have gone through losing my husband..not as young as your Roger but still only 61 which in my eyes is not old..you have up days down days and he should be lying beside me cuddling me of a night times…I don’t reply to all your posts but I really enjoy reading them x

  • Reply
    Vicki
    November 11, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Don’t give up Julia, your blog is incredible & I admire that you’ve been so open and honest about your journey. Im still hear reading so you need to carry on (even if its just for me). Sending you lots of love from Cornwall xx
    Vicki recently posted…Katherine Daniels SkincareMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tessa Roberts
    November 11, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    I care and look forward to seeing you this weekxx

  • Reply
    Leigh - Headspace Perspective
    November 11, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Please don’t worry what others might think about the tone or content of what you write, Julia. Try not to worry about it seeming negative. It is what it is. Listen to that voice. Keep doing whatever gets you through life without Rog. Much love xxx
    Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…Intoxicated By PossibilityMy Profile

  • Reply
    International Elf Service
    November 12, 2015 at 12:12 am

    Beautiful post and keep writing x
    International Elf Service recently posted…Two Brilliant Paper Folding Books For Kids!My Profile

  • Reply
    Donna
    November 12, 2015 at 12:40 am

    It’s like picking up your favourite book and catching up. I mean it’s REAL. Keep going. Dx

  • Reply
    Catherine @ pushing the moon
    November 12, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Hi Julia, I don’t think I have commented on your blog before (except maybe on a #HomeEtc post), I think it’s because I’ve been at a loss for words, and I don’t know if anything I could say would help – and I’m sorry for that.

    But, I love reading your posts and the way you write. Please listen to that voice in your ear, please don’t give up writing this blog. Xxx
    Catherine @ pushing the moon recently posted…Meal Planning Monday #10My Profile

  • Reply
    Ting at MTM
    November 12, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I may not comment very often but I do read a lot. And those of us who do, do care. You are an inspirational person and your words do touch us in small and different ways. Hope you keep going xx
    Ting at MTM recently posted…Holiday Snapshots #40 Hurghada, EgyptMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tracey @ mummyshire
    November 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I can’t imagine what this journeying grief must be like for you, but your blog has been a (nother) place to share your thoughts and find some solace. You’re a great writer, and people are reading & listening
    Xx

  • Reply
    Liz
    November 12, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Hi Julia, I’ve never commented on a blog before but have been reading your posts for a while now. My mum died recently after having suffering for some time with cancer. I happened to find your blog via a link from the Slouching towards Thatcham blog which I’ve followed for a few years, and your blog really struck a chord. There were so many parallels in your story with what we were (and still are) going through. What you write always rings so true, and you write so well too. I just wanted to say that I really admire your courage and you seem like a fantastic mum to your children. I totally know what you mean about the different emotions that come and go – I would say just do whatever you need to: your blog is great but if you don’t write so frequently for a while then there’s no need to explain! Equally, if you write about things being rubbish, I’m sure no one will think badly of you – that’s how life is sometimes! Wishing you and your family all the best. Thanks for sharing. Lx

  • Reply
    Mummy Tries
    November 12, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Your Rog was a wise man darling, because that is exactly the point of blogging, and sharing. Keep on keeping on lovely, don’t feel bad for having low days because you are entitled to grieve for as long as you need to. It’s your personal experience, and no one is going to stop reading your blog because you aren’t writing about it all the time. If it’s not cathartic and doesn’t come naturally then don’t do it. Sending hugs xxxx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…My Love Affair with ThailandMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beth@ Twinderelmo
    November 12, 2015 at 11:50 am

    The voice In Your ear is right! It’s a hard balance to strike but just remember it’s your space for your feelings. I wish I had started writing sooner because it’s bizarre to see how far you have come. Much love as always xxxxx
    Beth@ Twinderelmo recently posted…Top Tips for a Luxurious WinterMy Profile

  • Reply
    Melanie
    November 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Dear Lovely lady – I don’t normally comment on blogs but I found your blog yesterday and sat reading so many of the posts last night as what you have been through and are going through on this grief journey resonated with me on a deep level. Like Liz I lost my beautiful Mum after a long fight with cancer at too young an age after already losing my dad to cancer when he was only 47 so I wont say I “know” what you are feeling as you should never say that, grief is personal for everyone and very different. However, those feelings you talk about and the stuff you go hrough on a daily basis we all feel, I wish I was brave enough to write down and share my feelings and thoughts with everyone like you do but if honest im scared about what it will bring. reading your thoughts and feelings helps me not feel so alone and I hope knowing we are out the reading and living it with you helps to bring you some peace. Grief can be overwhelming and you’re right it is a roller coaster, it catches me unawares all the time and the smallest things that other people would not even be aware of hit me and I feel like the sadness will never end. There is a line in a lady antebellum song that says something along the lines of id rather feel hurt than feel nothing at all, the pain and sadness we feel means we were lucky enough to have an amazing person in our lives that we loved that much and who loved us back. keep going hunny, you are such a role model to your children and friends and family, take small steps, ask for help, be honest and true to yourself and the memory of Rog, we are in the grief fog and some days it will be sunny and the clouds will clear and others it won’t and it will feel like trudging through mud but know that your feelings are understood and felt by many – thank you for sharing xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Reply
    Lisa Holcombe
    November 12, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Julia, I think you would be so surprised by how many people do care so please don’t give up the blog and write whatever you want to write! I think it’s very therapeutic to write everything down and get it out, good or negative, it doesn’t matter to people who care about you. Your words could never ever be pointless so please don’t think that and thank you for sharing your journey, it gives hope and strength to people like me. Sending you big hugs, Lisa xox

  • Reply
    Emma
    November 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Please don’t stop, Julia. I get so much from your words in so many different ways. I agree with everything everyone else has said too.

    You are brave, wonderful and so beautifully eloquent. Continuing writing whatever you want to write. You inspire us all with every word.

    Much love, Em xxx

  • Reply
    Colette B
    November 12, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Sounds to me like that little voice in your ear knows what he’s talking about. Keep on keeping on x x x
    Colette B recently posted…A rather overdue Autumn Bucket List updateMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers
    November 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    It must not have saved my comment as I can’t see it. You need to keep writing you are so good at it, and your posts touch so many. You have some amazing comments on this post and you need to take comfort from some of those. Post personal posts when you can. when you want to or when you need to. This blog is your space for you to with what you choose. xxx
    Mini Travellers recently posted…Geronimo Festival is Back for 2016 – Tatton Park and Harewood HouseMy Profile

  • Reply
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome)
    November 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Julia, you blog has genuinely been one of my favourites for a long time. Ever since you sat across from me at that Lush event and we realised who each other was! I came back home and read your blog and loved it. I wish it hadn’t had to take to turn it has but at the same time reading through all these lovely comments I can see how much your writing has helped and is still helping people. I think Rog would just want you to keep on, keeping on, whether that is a post like this from the heart or a post about your lovely home, baking fun with the kids or just some things that are making you happy. We always want to read it xxx
    Hayley (@hayleyfromhome) recently posted…School Run Style – Winter FashionMy Profile

  • Reply
    Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock
    November 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with Roger!
    I’m sending you so much love xxx
    Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock recently posted…Turning TwoMy Profile

  • Reply
    mummyofb
    November 13, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Ahh Julia. Can’t imagine how sad you must feel some days. Big hugs and love. The best thing about blogging though is that there is no set formula, you can write about what ever you want, whenever you want. So just do that. We love reading about everything you have to say. You say it so well. Jess xx

  • Reply
    Megan - truly madly kids
    November 13, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Grief is an unpredictable beast, but whatever way you are doing it, it’s the right way for you. Yes, it has ups and downs, but it’s all grief.

    Lots of love to you, my brilliant friend xxxxx
    Megan – truly madly kids recently posted…Image of the week: Dance Like No-one’s watchingMy Profile

  • Reply
    Joanne
    November 13, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    This was the first blog of yours that I’d read, kindly retweeted by the lovely Peter McDowall. I have to say you write absolutely beautifully but what got me was the overall tone in your blog. I can’t even imagine how you’re coping after the death of your husband with two small children to bring up too. What struck the chord with me was the light and darkness of your feelings. I lost my Mum cruelly to cancer almost four years ago. It was only three months from diagnosis to her death with a massive operation in between. It was a terrible time and she was only 67.
    As much as I enjoy many things in life, I have realised that nothing will ever be the same because she’s not around for me and the rest of the family. It’s like I’m firing on about 70% with everything because of that void in our lives. Yes, I can laugh and smile along with most things in life but there’s always that sadness there. I’m not much of a writer but I wish in some ways I’d put my feelings down on paper like you have, it definitely must help with the healing process.
    Thankfully in life, there are always so many things to look forward to, no matter how small, all part of the rollercoaster. Thanks for the post this week, I’ll definitely follow you from now on!

    • Reply
      Rainbeaubelle
      November 14, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Thank you so much for your comment, but I am truly sorry you lost your mum. It seems this is the way it is for many after someone close dies, I know the pain will never go away but I’m hoping I find it easier to live with in time. Thanks to Pete for sharing! Xx

  • Reply
    sarah christie
    November 14, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Julia I love you as a person a blogger and a friend. Roger was a wise man people want to read what you write because it is great. Write what you want when you want, and know that people love reading it , love you beautiful lady xxxx
    sarah christie recently posted…A Family Break At Slaley Hall Q LodgesMy Profile

  • Reply
    claire barnard
    November 15, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Your writing is such a gift Julia and I’m so glad that you that you share it with us. x it sounds like you’re really helping a lot of people through the blog as well x I can’t imagine how you’re feeling and find it very hard that there’s no magic wand to make it all better but I’m hoping that time will help, and please keep writing xxx

  • Reply
    Lisa@intotheglade
    November 18, 2015 at 12:23 am

    I’m just catching up after being away. Oh Julia this is your space and whatever you want to write, we want to read!! Listen to Rog but also listen to yourself and if you don’t want to share, that is fine too. I wish you didn’t have to go through this god awful business of grief. Take care lovely and I am only around the corner on work days, I can be there to administer a hug in two seconds flat ha! Lots of love X X X
    Lisa@intotheglade recently posted…My Monday Quote!My Profile

  • Reply
    Dee Matthews
    November 25, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Love your blog, please don’t give up. You are doing so much good to others trying to understand or perhaps living through it too. I am sad to hear you are struggling though – try to keep writing if you can. Take care, Dee x

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