One of the fun parts of losing someone is that the grief process is always full of surprises – said no one, ever.
The unexpected twists and turns that are thrust upon you when people you love die are like invisible daggers to your heart. You don’t know what they will be. You don’t see them coming. And you’re always unprepared for them.
For example – I’m currently wondering how to relate to my young nephew, after my sister died last year.
Listen to Robin Bailey on the grief she experienced losing her father. Post continues below.
It’s not just Aunty business as usual. There will be nothing about our lives that will be business as usual, again.
Oh, how I long to be the cool aunt I was. The fun aunt. The inappropriately permissive aunt that drove my sister nuts. Carefree and mildly irresponsible... we’re all too changed for that, now.
So many good memories. I took it for granted there would be many more made.
Instead, what I agonise about is the role I must play in the future.
My nephew is school-aged, and technically old enough to understand what death is. But can he, really?
I know what I’m thinking in my own grief – shock, confusion, guilt, regret, longing. Is he feeling some of those things? All of them?
No, I can’t just ask him. It feels too soon. I don’t want in any way to make things worse. Bring up trauma.
Because I can already see it in his face, behind his smile. He is devastated and heartbroken in the most genuine sense of those words.
My sister was his glue, his home, his heart.
I have a little sense of that, because she was that for me, too.