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The Grief Diaries

Look What You Made Me Do: Random and Just Plain Weird Things I’ve Done as a Result of Grief

Ask anyone who’s gone through a bereavement – grief makes you do some weird things. I
wasn’t particularly aware of that fact myself though. At least not until it actually happened to
me
. Looking back over the last few months, it was clear that grief had me doing a few things
that to the outsider may have seemed a little strange. Today, I’m sharing some of those
things in a bid to show that there’s no ‘normal’ way to grieve, and that the best way to get
through it is to do what you need to do.

Random and Weird Stuff I've Done as a Result of Grief - Pinterest graphic

Research

One of my most annoying traits (and there are many) is that I’m a researcher. You tell me
about a condition you have and I’ll research it. You tell me you’re having a procedure
done in a particular hospital and I will research that hospital. I will research the procedure
and I will watch YouTube videos on it (I feel for anyone who discovered my browsing history
when I was waiting for my colonoscopy). It’s not because I’m being nosy, it’s purely because
I like to know things. I like to educate myself and I like to know what to expect. In Dad’s
case, that was no different.

Even before we knew what was wrong with him, I would spend hours reading through the
visiting policies on the hospital website, desperate to make sure that I followed the rules
(probably a compulsion, but you be the judge). Once we had more of an idea what we were
facing, I was searching for the doctors we’d spoken to and the departments he would be
referred to. Like some strange stalker with a medical fetish.

Even after Dad died, and we found out that he had a form of leukaemia, I spent hours
looking at all of the blood cancer charity websites. I read about symptoms, potential
treatments, if it was genetic. It wasn’t pleasant, but in a weird way, it helped, and it was oddly
comforting. Learning about this vile illness that took my dad helped me to gain power over
the experience.

Cry at My Comfort Show

Okay, so we’ve all cried at our comfort shows, I’m sure. Frasier is my ultimate comfort show
and I’ve cried at numerous scenes. However, what I wasn’t prepared for is the fact I now cry
at things I’ve never cried at before. I’ve watched a lot of The Big Bang Theory over the last
few months, and there’s an episode where Howard and Bernadette throw a dinner party with
the last of the leftovers that Howard’s late mother kept in their freezer. It’s actually a pretty
funny episode, but there’s one part where they’re cooking the food and Howard just stops
and says “I’m never going to talk to her again” – and it just floored me. It floored me more
than the episode where she actually dies. It’s such a small thing, but it really hit home the
same realisation to me.

Then there was Sheldon and Amy’s wedding – yes, a particularly emotional episode anyway and I teared up immensely purely at her being walked down the aisle by her dad. I sense that’s pretty much my future now.

Drinking at Any Opportunity

I’d be lying if I said my drinking hasn’t gotten worse over the last few months. It’s one of the
only times that I feel normal and confident, but at the same time, that comes with a price of
heightened emotions. Really heightened. Take a recent wedding I went to. It was the
wedding of two of my best friends and it was such a wonderful day. However, I cried more
times than I can actually remember. For context, I didn’t even cry at my own wedding. Yes,
the regular steam of prosecco that was coursing through my blood since lunchtime that day
was probably a contributing factor, but still. I’ve never cried so much at a wedding in my
entire life.

I’m aware that my love of wine is starting to get a bit out of hand, and I’m desperately trying
to fix it. For now, Drunk Amy may come out a bit more frequently. Just be patient with her
and sing Taylor Swift with her, that should do it.

Talking to Plants

My dad loved his pond and his garden. My sister took a few of his potted trees to look after
and gave a few of them to me. I don’t have the best track record with plants, but armed with
Dad’s voice in the back of my mind – “don’t you bloody kill them!” – I was determined to keep
these two little bonsai trees alive. They sit outside my front door, and I smile every time I
walk past them. One habit I’ve since picked up though, is that I talk to them. When I walk
past them as I leave the house in the morning, I’ll say “morning, Dad,” and when I water
them in the evenings I’ll say “alright, Dad?” and anything else I want to say to him that day. I
never thought of myself as a plant-talking person, but talking to them definitely makes me
feel closer to him.

Dark Humour

Anyone who knows me knows that my sense of humour was dark to begin with. Combine
that with working in a job that talks about death every single day, and then the loss of a
parent, it’s a pretty sure thing that my sense of humour has gotten darker in the last few
months. Before you say “oh it’s fine, my sense of humour is pretty dark too” – I mean, it’s
dark. The kind of dark where you’ll say something considerably on the edge, we’ll all laugh
and I’ll follow it up with a response that will cause the room to instantly tense up and
someone (usually my husband) will look at me and say “Jesus Ames, that was a bit too far.”
I can’t help it. I’ve always dealt with things through humour – my OCD, my anxiety, my
general self-loathing – and this is no different. The best thing I’ve seen that sums it up is
Amelia Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy, where we see the aftermath of (spoiler alert – don’t come at me, it was seven years ago) Derek’s death:

Still from Grey's Anatomy - Amelia says "So it should be like Greek tragedy turned to stone bat crap crazy, but I'm good. I got this. I am fine, I'm telling you I'm amazing. I am saving lives left and right, I'm putting butts in the seats of that OR gallery. I mean, people are fighting to hear me lecture. I am entertaining. Joke, joke, joke. I'm funny, I'm fun, I'm a party. I'm doing - I'm great. I'm handling the dead Derek thing really well."

In a way though, the humour side of things is a fitting tribute to my dad. It was something he
was well known for, and it was one of the main ways in which he dealt with things. It was
even there in the hours after he died – my step-mum and my brothers sat around his bed,
sharing stories, telling jokes and laughing at the memories of him. It made a very sombre
occasion a slightly lighter one, and he would have loved it.

What weird stuff have you ended up doing as a result of grief? Let me know in the
comments.

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