I wrote my book, Don’t Let Them Tell You How to Grieve, when I experienced grief for the second time. I was able to observe the emotions and anxieties having gone through them before when my daughter, Nikki, died.
I wrote it as it was: the loss, the isolation, the love of everyone around me, sitting at the garden table on my own, no one to put the kettle on, being forgetful, not being able to concentrate, having to deal with all that paperwork, but in the middle of it all the occasional humour: putting salt in my tea, stroking the cat, setting off and finding the car always going to Tescos and of course, hugging a bowl of custard, and picking blackberries because, ‘I craved the certainty of blackberry things’ coming round each year.
On very bad days I would tell myself:
‘One foot in front of the other
And don’t forget to breathe.’
I also wrote it because I found well-meaning people were telling me, ‘You ought to stop thinking about it and get out more’, or, ‘You ought to be over it by now’. Grief is a long process and we each deal with it in different ways. I strongly believe that we should allow others to grieve in their own way in their own time, and ask them to let us do the same.
I hope my book reassures you that you’re not alone and that it also helps you to find the courage to do the essential work of grieving in whichever way you choose.