My widowed Mother exclaims every time I write a blogpost about grief or sadness “ why do you torture yourself Alyson?”. She knows that I weep as I write.
Some say it is cathartic to help me come to terms with my own grief from a young age, others say it is self serving. Yet, six years into my writing it feels bigger than that.
The private messages and e mails I receive and the friendships I have built from sharing words about grief knit together a thread with a person who has also felt the weight of it all. The weight which can feel most heavy in January.
My words around sad topics have become a language allowing me to offer you the space to know that you are not alone. I hope.
Years of masking our sorrows and “putting on a brave face” are slowly, thankfully, crumbling. No one has it all figured out and if their social media squares show otherwise then take it from me- they’re more sad than you first thought. Don’t be trapped by sparkly bikini shots and cheery families by the holly bush on Instagram.
So January, the month my eldest son was born and my Mother’s birth month. You can add to that list my god daughters birthday – she really did bring something special to the new year twelve years ago.
Nonetheless, January stings like a hive without a queen.
I read a tweet that said January is a marketers dream. All you have to do to confirm this is to look at billboards when you’re driving, sponsored posts when you are scrolling and the content between films and tv shows.
“New year new you’ is a slogan we adopt like a badge and then have to roll with the punches. The blows of self doubt, shame, unrealistic expectation and loss.
Our world moves at a fast pace so we expect the body and mind to keep that speed. When results of new year resolutions fall short of meeting anything resolved we take on a wealth of failure. It’s not a nice feeling, ever.
My uncle died this month twenty years ago and my cousin’s anniversary will be two years this month – two facts I type with tears in the corners of my eyes.
Ou family had the beautiful arrival of a new baby at the end of last year and with this brought incredible hope. But as I look into that baby’s eyes I am reminded of the post natal sadness I felt after my own babies.
By the third baby I could articulate better but the years when my big two were young are somehow clouded, at times, with the embarrassment that I wasn’t coping on the inside.
Often all I remember are the long days and my inability to cope. I have been working on re framing those memories conjuring up the sweet times and laughter, one step at a time.
As trite as it sounds, I am all the stronger for it and for coming through the years when it felt like an uphill climb.
If you’re in the thick of blue January I encourage you to do one thing. Look at where you are right now, in this space, as you sit ,walk or lie reading this. Become aware of every part of you. Wiggle your toes, blink your eyes real hard, tap your fingers together to make a sound and to send vibrations, albeit tiny through your arms.
You are alive, you are worthy of a space in this world and no matter the hardships all we know is the here and now. You cannot jump forward to plan a route where you won’t face hardships and sadly we can’t go backward to amend what has been broken.
This moment is what we have and you can own it. Breathe ten breaths, lift the phone and talk to someone, read a book about spaceships if that will take your mind to a place far away from worry, shame or self doubt.
It’s a small suggestion and a minor shift but the weight of January and its blues doesn’t have to all rest on your shoulders.