Just as darkness has taught us so much, light will show us there is space to heal.
Sharon Jackson’s partner Graham died suddenly in June this year. Sharon is a Yoga teacher and led the breathworks sessions on our recent Active Grief Weekend. She is also our next door neighbour and very good friend. Here she writes about her grief in the run up to Christmas, a time many of us grievers find especially difficult. To find joy and pain, light and darkness in the same hand is a difficult balancing act…. but not impossible.
It’s my favourite month.
I am still learning to breathe in the wilderness of grief.
Christmas is about spending time with those you love… All I hear are my thoughts; thoughts of Christmas past, when everything was as it was…. full of light, love and laughter. Although it seems that the light has faded, I need to find it elsewhere and seek solace.
Emptiness, fear and dread all loom… in fact they’ve been looming for a while. Weaving their way around my tears, latching on to my sorrows and bonding with loneliness. All intertwined with strength, courage and hope. Hope, that one day this will all become less painful and I can breathe again. Never to be forgotten but being able to remember and love in a healing way.
Togetherness won’t ever be the same again, nothing will ever be the same again… but it’s important for our festive traditions to continue, in honour of you… for you.
This sense of forever absence is painful, not just by the trauma of death but by the isolation we now face in the society we find ourselves living in.
So as the world is bound by lockdown rules and masks hide the sadness of the voice within, the eyes like windows to the world, will always tell the truth.
That one single tear that falls onto the handwritten Christmas card that I struggle to put pen to, as I knew signing off would never look the same again… the motion in the wrist as I automatically write those initials… before stopping just as the pen caresses the paper. Knowing that the way I now sign off Christmas cards will never be or look the same again.. and I so desperately want to write my name next to yours…but I can’t. Or maybe I do and that card ends up hidden under my pillow, tears seeping through, because I just can’t let go.
I don’t want to let go.
You can’t let go.
And that’s ok.
Whilst the rest of the world sings to songs of festive merriment and wreaths adorn homes, it feels for me that, that sparkle and magic have left. Just like you.
Amongst this loss there’s another voice. That voice. Your voice. Telling me in your own way that everything will be ok.
Although I feel as though my body’s compass has lost its magnetic ability to point me in the right direction, the light seeks me, it holds me, heals me and wraps itself around me; enveloping me in stillness until I am able to lightly tread forth.
I’m still not ready just yet but there will come a point when I can talk with fondness, without the bubble in the throat that blocks the path to communication. To remind myself of those little things, your rituals, that would happen at this time of year… and whether I can do a good enough job , whether my memory will serve me right and step into your faithful shoes. Make you proud.
December is my month… well, it always was…
It’s going to take a long time for it to be my month again.
What follows December is January.
A new year…and with a new year, a bigger, deeper breath.
That voice will always be nestled within; my bones, my blood and my heart
and I will move into 2021 knowing that I will never walk alone…
Graham and Sharon pictured from our garden right at the beginning of lockdown March 2020