Liz Davies: Grief - a journey

This story has a trigger warning

Many thanks to Liz Davies for sharing this moving piece about loss, grief, bereavement, and faith.

coffin with flowers and bible on top

So it happened this August–my mum died. You live with that knowledge all your life. Your parents are going to die. Death and taxes. Nothing as certain. Also with my mum this expectation had been heightened in the last year due to her having been diagnosed with an incurable inoperable condition.She had signed a do not resuscitate form. We knew it was going to happen. We were expecting it. Yet when it happened we were shocked and shaken. It was like all that preparation for the end did nothing to quell the pain and confusion.

I say that, but then we did have a lovely last week together with all the family taking turns around the bedside and sometimes all together, sometimes alone, sometimes reminiscing about happy family holidays, sometimes laughing at funny incidents we remembered, sometimes crying, others praying, taking communion, making our peace, telling each other we love each other. Caring for each other, supporting each other, sobbing, hugging, gentle words, sharing the pain.

I read this poem out (that I wrote 20 years ago) at my mum’s funeral…
“I love my Mum’s Home-made raspberry jam
It reminds me of hot childhood summers, banana and jam sandwiches in the wigwam
Mum’s lovely, sloppy, runny, rich, delicious jam
I love my Mum’s Home-made raspberry jam
Or blackberry, crab-apple jelly, whatever was in season
The upturned stool in the kitchen, stretched with muslin, and jelly drip, drip, dripping through
I love my Mum’s Home-made raspberry jam
It reminds me of hot childhood summers, banana and jam sandwiches in the wigwam.”

I don’t understand, it doesn’t seem to follow a pattern. From nowhere it hits you, and other times you can see why a song, a smell of perfume, a book, a picture, and all things that remind me of her.  Grief feels like depression so I stopped trying to understand it and started treating it like I do my bipolar, accept it, live with it, acknowledge it’s there, but don’t be frightened of it –that gives it power. Allow it, feel it, cry, howl and then just carry on. It won’t kill you, although to be fair I am sure there is such a thing as dying of a broken heart as you often see a partner who has lost a partner following them. So I lean on my faith, it is supposed to comfort me, to hold me up. I go back to the bible.

In the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NKJV:
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the
Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Here is another of my poems

MISSING YOULiz's mother

I may never touch you again
But I will always feel you
I may never see you again
But I will always sense you
I may never hear from you again
But I will always hear your voice
You are in me
And I am in you
We are apart now
Yet always joined

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