At the beginning of this year a sad thing happened. I lost someone very dear to me and my heart was broken. I was angry. I felt guilty. I questioned everything I ever believed in. I screamed. I cried. And I stayed in bed, refusing to talk to anyone.
A sad thing had happened.
But then something else happened. In the same month, both David Bowie and Alan Rickman died. Both were heroes of mine. Reading the news, it felt like a sucker punch straight to the stomach. And it wasn’t just me. Millions of people around the world were feeling the same.
At first I couldn’t understand why any of us would want to share such a personal feeling with the rest of the world. My safe place for my broken heart was under the duvet, with the bedroom door shut, far far away from the world. I thought grief was a personal thing but social media has changed that. Everyone’s feelings were suddenly so public. And what’s more they wanted to express themselves in this way.
I couldn’t understand why everyone else wasn’t shutting themselves away? What was it about this kind of public grief that made people not retreat to the safety of the duvet?
And then I got it.
The thing about grief is that it can be the loneliest time.
Something about knowing so many others were feeling the same loss and hurt too can be reassuring. Suddenly you aren’t so alone. And the kindness I saw, as people reached out to others really struck a chord with me. For every tribute and message made in the memory of David Bowie and Alan Rickman there was an equally beautiful message of support. It was how people were processing with the deaths of their heroes.
I saw people use their sadness to create. I saw the most beautiful tributes to both Bowie and Rickman. I saw fans taking heartbreak and pain and creating something beautiful and it gave people a sense of purpose at a time where it felt like there were more questions than answers.
Whilst I was going through my personal turmoil I was amazed to see how comforting people found it to reach out and create with the rest of the world. Seeing people mourn together made me realize it was time to leave the lonely bubble I had built for myself and I reached out to my family and friends.
Talking to my nearest and dearest pulled me out of a darkness I thought I would never escape. It was my family that encouraged me to create and write again. Poems, letters in my journal… the words started to fall out of me. In my darkest hour when I thought I would never write another sentence, writing gave me a release.
We all grieve in our own ways. It’s important you don’t give yourself a hard time and that you find your own way to grieve; a way that you feel comfortable to express yourself.
The most important thing is that when you feel lonely, you remember that you aren’t alone.
This post is in loving memory of Bud