Since last time I've written, I've had a birthday.
I hate birthdays. Not because I turn a year older…..but because most of the people I love aren’t here to share it with me. Birthdays after someone you love has died are never, ever the same!
This year, I was without another important family member. My dad!
For as long as I can remember, on the morning of my birthday, it’s like I’m psychic. I’d know the first phone call I'd receive would be from my dad, with a smile in his humble voice, wishing me a quiet “Happy birthday Diana!”
So this year it seems I’m psychic too….as I knew the phone wouldn’t ring, I knew I wouldn’t hear Dad’s voice, or share a conversation with him….not on any day ever again! And it hit me hard. It is like the reality of his death and him not being here has finally sunk in.
And I was sad! I was a blubbering mess!
I had the biggest pity party…..where tears came along, anger brought his frown, sadness brought the red wine and of course pity cheered me on….
By mid afternoon I opened a bottle of wine, hoping to drown out all these emotions that showed up ready to party. And I managed to forget….for a little while…..
But I’ve learnt through my journey that delaying the heartache, or burying the emotions or using something to try and fix your grief doesn’t work.
Yes, to go into battle with grief you have to armour up….whether it be with friends support, a listening ear, or through feeling the pain and allowing that to settle in your being and then seep out of your eyes in the form of tears.
There’s no magic spell or pill that you can take to mend a broken heart. It will always be broken….but sitting on my deck on my birthday, feeling sorry for myself, I noticed a flash of yellow pull up in my driveway.
I heard the slam of 3 car doors and watched as my sister’s twins and husband came smiling around the corner with a shiny yellow box that said “Moet” in
’s hand. Each of my sister’s daughters took a turn at
squeezing me so tight, they managed to transfer a few stitches into my broken
And I do have a broken heart….but…..half of it is still intact….and that half is an enormous muscle filled with hope and the ability to recognize and appreciate joy. And I’m grateful that at least that half will always eclipse the broken bits.
I grabbed five of my mother’s precious crystal flutes and called Dempsey. I told the girls I was going to share my beautiful bottle of sparkling bubbles with them….only if it was a sip! YOLO I told them! J
Their faces lit up....Dempsey was a bit hesitant, but I told her a sip of French champagne is ok because its my birthday….and if we were in Italy, they’d most likely be enjoying red wine with their dinner at night….well that was my excuse anyway! I wanted them to feel special and to create a memory where in years to come maybe they’d reminisce and say “Remember old aunt Diana giving us a sip of French Champagne on her birthday!”
And this week my baby has been on camp….the anxiety of Dempsey not being in my clutches is very real and it’s a demon I fight with….a bit like the emotions I battle on special days. But I’ve been trying to trust in the Universe and trust Dempsey’s big sister will keep her safe….but it feels like someone has cut my left arm off. The house is way too quiet!!
And it’s in these quiet moments when you can’t escape, that all those grief emotions start to bubble up to the surface and you have to face them. There’s nowhere to run….where do you run to?
Who do you tell?
Who wants to listen to someone who’s sad and down? Nobody!
So I’ve had to face a lot of buried emotions this past week…and it’s been exhausting, but I’ve feel like I’ve come through the fog, I feel like I’ve won a war!
And last night, my sister’s girls had their Production at school.
Emerald asked with puppy dog eyes if I’d please go! And to be honest I didn’t feel up to it. I just wanted to wallow at home. But I went….for my sister!
And as I sat next to their dad and watched them light up the stage with their presence, beauty and fun energy…..I thought of my big sister.
One of them is becoming more like her every day in the way she pulls faces, and how she holds her head….even though she can’t know Tarnia’s quirky little ways as she was only a baby when she died.
But there on that wooden stage was my sister…reincarnated.
I was so proud to be there watching….also a little melancholy that Tarnia has missed out on so many of these moments.
And it hit me then….that there is life in grief….that there can be happiness in sadness and that you can’t escape fear and pain anymore than you can avoid the joy and beauty in moments…. e v e r y s i n g l e d a y ! And that right there was my light bulb moment!
Yes, between the pauses of grief, beauty and joy shines through and fixes the broken bits…..there’s no safety net….but for every down moment, the UP one’s fill our blue cup with sunshine and give us strength and courage to face whatever life throws at us. They sweep us up and carry us along, slowly mending our broken hearts and ensuring our smile will always return.... X