Since counselling – Day 2

My visit to the Bereavement Centre

Deep down I really didn’t want to go…

Yesterday morning Ingrid of the Bereavement Centre at work was kind enough to lend me her ear for an hour – an hour I’d all weekend ignored because what would I say? I have nothing to say – I don’t have a problem! Everyone else has the problem, not me. I’m a’okay – it is all happiness in my house.

So, I awoke as one does each morning (to the shrill call of the alarm that I duly incorporated into my dream, I’m no good in the morning), and I dressed and cleaned my teeth, and I ignored myself as I tried to talk myself out of going (again, as one does). I called a taxi, clambered in, and directed the driver to the hub office, all the while wishing I was telling him to take me some place else.

I entered through the garage – I prefer entering through the garage, the tight squeeze between the hearses and limousines acts as a good gauge of my girth, and if I can fit easily through then I am cool – and I partook in my usual issue of getting through the coded door.

Ingrid’s office is immediately on the left – I said “Hi” and still didn’t know what I was going to say, what I was going to talk about during our hour, and hoping she’d cancel. She didn’t, she took me into a private room.

To be honest, I didn’t even know why I’d e-mailed her – I mean, well not to be rude, but shit happens, doesn’t it? People die and that’s that – I see death everyday so for me to think otherwise would be half-baked, surely? And doesn’t life have a tendency to be cruel, and doesn’t any hint of being unable to cope make plain your weakness to those around you?

I promote the Bereavement Centre to every family I have the privilege to meet – the work they do is fantastic – but secretly, I’d always figured, their care wasn’t for me…

I have my writing (which has skulked away like as if it’s embarrassed to be associated with me, I’ve noticed) and I have my family and friends, and of course I’d be remiss to not mention my Baby Best Mate, Myles.

I have all that I need and then some.

I’m not lying when I say “I’m fine” – most usually I am.

Eventually, I stopped – Ingrid paused a moment. She looked at me. She said: “I’m confused, no wonder you’re confused.”

I didn’t think I was confused.

Yeah sure, this led to that but then so did those other things, so it is totally normal to feel tied up in knots.

I didn’t see what she meant until later.

I’ve a typically tumbled up life – a washing machine full of acceptance and shrugs – shaken up good by the death of a loved not one but two.

Upon reflection – sat right here with a mug of Earl Grey – I do regret to say that the limelight of my Grandmother’s death in January has been taken by my Cousin’s death in March, but as I continue to reflect I do believe that she would want it no other way. At the end of the day, dementia had taken her to places quite cruel, and her death was a release so no-one should feel sorrow for her freedom to do whatever she wants to do. She’s back with the old gang and that fills me with joy.

For my Cousin, well his passing fills me with no joy. I find myself asking why – I ponder upon his final moments, upon the thoughts that may or may not have crossed his mind, upon all those he left behind.

I think of him as an idiot – I think of ‘if only’ and I think of quite selfish things, like my want to exchange some time. I think, especially when I see a picture, of what he could’ve achieved if only he was given the chance, of what he might have seen if only…

If only…

Everything seems to return to ‘if only’.

I don’t like ‘if only’, I’ve decided.

Two weeks before he died we made plans to meet at his caravan in April and get up to some good ol’ mischief.

Well, we did meet up in April – our weekend of madness was the weekend of his funeral, and this doesn’t quite fulfil our agreement.

He still owes me a weekend.

I’m sorry, but his funeral doesn’t count.


All I would like is for someone to answer the impossible, to give reason to the outlandish order of things – is that too much to require?

And now the moral…

I discovered a lot yesterday.

First, I found something to say – I didn’t think I would but I showed myself up, kudos! I suppose that’s a win, somehow.

Second, I’m not alright but I’m doing alright – the peaks and troughs are normal – I should try and stem the overanalysing of everything, but then I’m a writer so that’s kind’a the art…

Third, I should ignore myself more often.

It turns out that I needed Ingrid’s ear.

I needed a stranger to hear me so I could finally see what was real.

Summer blooms and Winter greys, and here I am – I’m still okay.
I’m no different to yesterday – I’m a little wiser but just the same.

Tomos James

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