As a twenty-something woman, I have led a life that has pretty much-avoided grief. Consoling friends on their late grandparents (and the death of David Bowie) was the closest that I had come to anything too raw. I feel in many ways, this left me unprepared for the sudden death of a family member that was fine and dandy an hour earlier, and pronounced dead by an exhausted paramedic an hour later. Whilst, most have talked about the painlessness of his passing, there’s something unnerving about not being able to say goodbye. It feels unjust. And as a stranger to the whole concept, I’m still figuring out what grief is.
And I think that’s why grief is a feeling inexplicable to any other. Like ‘those that we love never leave us’, I’m not sure if grief does either. Like the many cuts and scars that decorate the skin of most humans, it sort of just becomes a part of you.
After the practicalities, cups of tea, and confusion. I found myself in awe, shocked that the world spins madly on like nothing’s changed. Terrified that life marches forward and that the person you loved would never see this post or the record you bought last week, they wouldn’t know that you had talked about buying a house, or that one day, you could be a person that they might not recognise.
The other thing about death is the way it get’s you thinking about your departure to the great yonder. Followed by the unexpected realisation that this death is one of many that you’re yet to experience, and unlike heartbreak, it doesn’t get easier now that you’re not a hormonal teenager. It’s not that I’ve never considered this before, it has just felt distant in the same way that having children does – nothing to worry about now, long way off. And in the same way that Harry Potter could see Thestrals, where everyone else saw magic carriages, it feels a little like someone has pulled back a curtain and I can’t really remember what it felt like before.
But, there is something to celebrate. Here’s to a crematorium packed with people, full of stories and memories. Here’s to remembering jazz music, a life filled with noise and laughter, and the certainty that there was never any doubt as to how loved he was. And here’s to the new found wisdom of grief. A reminder that those who love you will be with you in both remembrances and scratched, early 80s EP’s.
Finally, here’s to my Uncle Ron. Who’s extraordinary, ordinary life was one well lived.