What you don’t know is that
People die because of Grief
People die because of a Broken Heart
People Die by Suicide
Because their Grief is
Too Much to Bear
I had a call just last night from the
Now-orphaned-daughter of a friend
Whose husband was my friend and colleague
He had helped Mike get to
Chemo treatments on occasion when
I just couldn’t manage to fit it all in
But my friend also died
Just months after Mike died
And my new friend
My friend’s wife
Missed him too much
And like Julia chose to end the
Desperately Painful Grief that had
Settled over her life and her being
Her present and future and
Even her past
Replacing the love she had once felt
And reveled in and rejoiced in
Not a fair reward for
Decades of love
In the past 24 hours…
…I collected my youngest daughter’s “personal effects” from the clinic she’d been attending
…I was told that her death by suicide most probably wasn’t pre-meditated, but an “on the spur of the moment” action
…I learned that my baby girl had been terrified at the possibility of being a carrier for Lynch syndrome – she still needed to wait three more years before she was eligible for testing
…I heard that she had included me, her mum, in the short list of “reasons she wouldn’t take her life”
It makes me heave. I feel sick. I just want to vomit it all up.
In the past 24 hours…
…I have sat in my bed and looked through the pictures and artwork that Julia had on her bedroom walls at the clinic
…I have sat on her bed and read through a calendar where she recorded her mood, what she ate, what she was thinking…it’s full of pain
…I have knelt on her floor and opened and closed and opened and closed again the cartons I collected with Pascaline from the centre
…I have put the ceremony card from her service on my office shelves
It turns my legs to jelly. My throat constricts. My tummy clenches more.Read more
In France, where I live, early September, with its “back to school and back to work” is known as “la rentrée”.
This week is “la rentrée”. Schools go back. Three-year olds begin pre-school, known here as “Maternelle”. Six-year olds begin primary/”Primaire”. Eleven-year olds begin secondary, known as “Collège”, and 15-year olds begin “Lycée”.
In our home, I used to say that the entire month of September was “la rentrée”. We might have three kids in three different schools. We often had a new au pair to onboard into our family’s way of living. We had a whole long list of activities including music, sport, theatre and English-language learning to schedule.
It somehow always fell to me to figure out how it would all work, and how many able-bodied adults over the age of 18 would be required to schlep the kids around. I always had an eye on whether or not the schedule would still work if there was only the au pair available, for example when Mike and/or I were working late or travelling – or both.Read more
These last few days have been a mad rush. I accompanied my "now youngest" daughter Megan, who is 18, to start university in the middle of the UK. We live in France, so it’s a bit of a schlep, and since we take a flight, there’s a limit to what we can carry. Furnishing her student digs, then, becomes a race against time and my credit card’s flexibility.
We had 1 ½ very full days together. The first was spent filling up trolley after trolley with duvet, duvet cover, pillows, cushions, sheets, towels, pots, pans, cutlery and crockery. And then another with food items ranging from bread, milk and butter to cumin, olive oil and sriracha sauce. To non-food items like toilet paper, washing up liquid and bin bags. Via some fresh produce of course. I have rarely done such big shops. Only when moving houses and countries.
It was hard, effort-wise. Physical effort from the schlepping, and emotional effort from the semi-conscious countdown to the moment we’d have to part, when I would head to the airport and home. We don’t have plans to see one another till Christmas.
I am not a very good parent for shopping drudgery. I have never much enjoyed it. Mike was better at it. Or he did it with a better smile on his face.Read more