Do you ever have conversations with yourself? I do. In fact, the start of yesterday’s conversation was the catalyst for this blog. I asked myself, “Do I have enough to say about grief, grieving and living as a bereaved parent?” “Yes”, came back the answer, so here I am. It is nearly nine years since my dear 19 year old son James lost his life to a drowning accident in the river Thames at Kingston. Nearly nine years through which I have travelled this road that no parent wishes to join.
My life as a bereaved parent is a new normal life for me now. Conversations with myself can be multi-layered affairs. Consider again, yesterday.
Early morning run along the canal towpath. I came to running late and in fact my arthritic hip isn’t too keen, but if I can manage 5K once or twice a week, at a walk/jog/run sort of pace, then all is right with my world, physically at any rate. Running produces the adrenalin high which undoubtedly lifts mood, and running means that I can eat and drink more or less what I like and still remain relatively slim.
Since we moved to this area in October 2012, I have come to love a short stretch of the Basingstoke canal that has become a place of incredible peace and healing for me. I have no idea why the effect is so profound, and perhaps will examine that in writing another time. But for now, I will not stray from my objective, to expound upon how it is possible to process grief and sorrow almost completely independently from other tasks.
On one level, I was listening to my iPod and the birds, observing the emerging irises and enjoying the steady patter of my trainers on the relatively soft, gravelly path.
On another level, I was monitoring my breathing and assessing my gait and posture, stride, and how my legs felt.
The third level was the conversation. It often is at this third, maybe even fourth and less conscious level, and I cover all sorts of topics in silent dialogue.
How I am today, in the here and now, in the moment, in this particular setting, at this particular time, is the most frequent discussion I have with myself. I constantly monitor if I feel good, very good, excellent, or at the other end of the scale, sad, (sometimes) hopeless, despondent (rare).
The conversation itself is too diffuse to describe … but there is one certainty that comes from each and every mono/dialogue. It makes me feel better. It makes me cope with my loss, and helps me to keep a perspective on what has happened to me. That is worth a mint.