When you can’t find the words
“Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.” Sylvia Plath
Two years ago to the day, the 18th of January 2014, I was driving and singing along to the radio when a phone call came through. It was my younger sister. I pulled over. Through her frantic cries and hysteria I managed to make out the words, “Daddy is dead.” It is a mystery that my heart didn’t come to a complete stop.
“I was standing in our dining-room thinking of nothing in particular, when a cablegram was put into my hand. It said, ‘Susy was peacefully released today.’ It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live.” Mark Twain
In the weeks and months that followed, I realised that I had lost more than my dad. I lost the ability to write. The thoughts were in my head but I couldn’t articulate them in words. In a sense, his death garrotted me yet didn’t kill me outright.
“The death of a beloved is an amputation.” C. S. Lewis
I still struggle to write even now. I am desperately hoping it comes back to me.
“Losing people you love affects you. It is buried inside of you and becomes this big, deep hole of ache. It doesn’t magically go away, even when you stop officially mourning.” Carrie Jones
Whilst I have found it difficult to express how I felt (still feel) in my own words, I found the words of others that do just as good a job.
Hear me through them.
“We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world—the company of those who have known suffering.” Helen Keller
“The weird, weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.” James Patterson
“How do you go on knowing that you will never again—not ever, ever—see the person you have loved? How do you survive a single hour, a single minute, a single second of that knowledge? How do you hold yourself together?” Howard Jacobson
“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” Aeschylus
“Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die: It happens again every single morning.”Anna Quindlen
“Sometimes, when one person is absent,
the whole world seems depopulated.” Allphonse de Lamartine
“Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved.” Iris Murdoch
“If you have ever lost a loved one, then you know exactly how it feels. And if you have not, then you cannot possibly imagine it.” Lemony Snicket
“We never truly get over a loss, but we can move forward and evolve from it.” Elizabeth Berrien
Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.” Anne Roiphe
“Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing….” Elizabeth Gilbert
“Grief is like a ball of string, you start at one end and wind. Then the ball slips through your fingers and rolls across the floor. Some of your work is undone but not all. You pick it up and start over again, but you never have to begin again at the end of the string. The ball never completely unwinds. You’ve made some progress.” Anonymous
“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.” Arthur Golden
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” Anne Lamott
“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” Earl Grollman
“The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.” Arthur Schopenhauer
Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” Edna St. Vincent Millay
“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.” Anonymous