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A Year of Grief: Milestones Matter

by Dr Marianne Trent, Author of The Grief Collective: Life, Loss & Learning to Heal

Written in December 2018.

This is one of the saddest photos I have ever taken and it was taken almost exactly a year ago.

I can’t believe it has been a year since we last held Dad’s hand and kissed him goodbye for the last time.

I spent today with Mum & my youngest and with snotty cuddles in the kitchen with my husband before and after.

I drove to Mum’s in the bright wintery sunshine along the back lanes which I know Dad would have loved as he loved driving or biking usually pretty quickly, along country lanes.

The day after he died, I took the same route and saw a beautiful bird of prey perched by the edge of the road on a pillar. I was really hoping I would see it again today and will admit to a flurry of tears when it was not there. Birds of prey always reminded me of Dad even when he was with us and I told him before he passed that seeing them in future would forever be poignant.

Mum and I went out to a new bakery and sampled their offerings. I loved my chicken pasty. Mum not so pleased. Upon reflection it made me smile that we picked pasties today because I fondly recall occasions when Dad would sheepishly push his dinner around his plate and Mum would ask ‘have you been eating cake at your Mum’s or eating pies and pasties?!’ 🥧 Dad loved to eat lunch by the side of the road in his van in between calls and then listen to the news on radio 4 and have a nap. It seems my love of a nap is genetic!

I have learned in the last 12 months (12 months?! I can’t believe it!) that milestones are significant for me. Grief, I have learned is rather like getting entirely submerged in an ice bucket of water with very little warning but an immediate ability to take my breath away. Today there have been lots of ice bucket moments.

In contrast, it was a lovely surprise to look up as I reversed down Mum’s drive this afternoon as we were leaving and see one of these beautiful fellows in the sky! It honestly made my day.

Miss you Dad.

I will light a candle for him at 6:20pm tonight. At 6:21pm the boys and I will have a disco in the kitchen & make new memories (and know that Dad hated Disco’s but we love ‘em!)

To read more about real grief including more from Marianne and 53 other real people who have grieved check out The Grief Collective: Stories of Life, Loss & Learning to Heal by clicking here.


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