The Grief See-Saw Roundabout

(Note: Even though I live in France, I am basically British, and in the UK we call what Americans call a “Teeter Totter” a “See-Saw”; and we call what Americans call a “Merry-Go-Round” a “Roundabout”. At least we did back in the last millennium when I last lived in the UK).


I have in my mind’s eye one of those playground attractions

A blend of a see-saw and a roundabout

They actually do exist

I have been on at least one – probably not as a young child

But either as an adult child, or even a middle-aged child

I have long loved big swings and even some exciting slides


But I once fell off a roundabout when I was 6 years old

When living in Swansea, and broke my leg

(Fractured actually, but I understood the word “broken” better)

And I considered see-saws to be boring and static

But ones that swing around as they go up and down?

Much more fun


Until the sensation is no longer simply pure joy

Rising up and up and up

With an occasional bump back down to keep the

Excitement manageable

Instead it’s now just the occasional up

Out of a vast, all-encompassing sump

Grief – or lost love – wraps its arms around everything

Every emotion, every facet of life

Memories, former milestones, day-to-day living

Dreams and aspirations

So that even golden threads of joy

Can be hard to detect in the sticky, dark roughness


It feels overwhelming

Sickening, Vomit-making

The experience of being forever swirling

Spinning out of control of everything

Particularly one’s

Past, Present and Future


The moments of reprieve so very short-lived

Snatched treasures, some peace allowed

But just “on loan”

Nothing long enough to feel satisfying

A glimpse, a tantalising taste, a flash of memory

Of a former life lived more simply

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