Bereavement Blog March 2014
I wrote last month about how complicated our minds can be in our attempts to deal with the awful experience of loss and grief. I am made even more aware of this complexity when I look at a beautiful poster I have. It is of an iceberg floating in clear, serene sea.
The photograph, whether untouched or, more likely enhanced in some way, shows the mass of ice floating in water through which its lower expanse is eerily visible, demonstrating clearly how much more is below the surface than above,
We too are icebergs. The part of us of which we are completely aware, the 'us' we live with , so to speak, is not the whole by any means. Below the surface there lurks a greater mass where old memories and experiences are stored and, often, completely forgotten.
Every now and then something will cause a memory to resurface. It is as if some, quite small thing has impacted on our 'lower ice burgh' and caused it to throw up something from the depths. You know what I mean; an old song from our childhood or a reminiscence of an event which no longer takes place maybe This can be quite nice or vaguely disquieting but usually not truly disturbing.
However, when we experience a major loss, whether a death or any other negatively life changing event, it is as if our iceberg has had a major collision. Cracks in the ice below the surface of our awareness appear and we can become painfully aware of old griefs, losses, abuses and painful life events which we had thought dealt with or had suppressed in some way.
Suddenly we can feel overwhelmed by griefs from the past or deeply disturbed by events which appear to have no real connection with our present loss. This can be confusing, add to our distress and re - enforce our feeling of being out of control of our lives.
If this is how you feel at the moment remember that it is not an unusual or pathological phenomena. Just realising what is happening can help. It can also help, where appropriate, to revisit the past grief and give it a bit of attention. For example, when my baby daughter died we were in Kenya. She was buried there, in an isolated place, which I have no chance of ever revisiting. I have no grave, no memorial. Recently however I have planted a tree in her memory and her name is written there for all to see. Even all these years after her death , I feel better for doing this for her and her sisters have also enjoyed visiting Maddies tree and seeing its young branches blossom.
Please remember that you can email us on the Bereavement Support address if you would like to talk about any issues you may have. Everthing you say will be treated in complete confidentiality.