Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Tuesday, March 26

The imposition of grief

The strange thing about losing one’s parent is the burden placed on people when you tell them.

My nature is that I am a ‘teller’. I wear my heart on my sleeve – I don’t hide events like this. So my natural tendency is to tell my day-to-day colleagues about it.

But this then places on them the burden of trying to say the right thing.

So they put on long faces, and search awkwardly for solemn words of condolence, which don’t actually help. Although moments of weepiness hit, I am mostly quite jovial. The death is ultimately a good thing, though one is sad at the separation. So when I tell people, the tone I need to come back to me is about the same as if I have had say witnessed a serious but non-inju ry traffic accident on the way to work. It’s a shock that I need to talk about, and to have just a bit of light banter coming back to relieve the stress. Not that my Mum’s passing is a joke or trivial, but it is a normal part of life: the ending of her time of suffering and the start of eternity. The well-intended pretence of grief that does come back (from people that are not grieving for my Mum because the never knew her and her passing has no impact on them) just cloaks the event in unnecessary gloom.

I then realise that I am being a bit unfair, dumping my stuff on them. They come to the office to pay their mortgages, not to do amateur counselling in the stairwell for a colleague. So whereas when my Dad passed away I told everyone, this time I am being a little more circumspect, and only telling my immediate team.

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