Pursuit of ‘Answers’ May Be Way to Avoid Feelings

When someone dies suddenly or in unexpected circumstances, you will be overcome by the sort of grief that seems consuming (with all of the complicating bedfellows of anger, disbelief, guilt) and you’re going to face the hardest questions to answer. How did it happen? And why did it happen? Since my best friend died, I have found myself searching for answers to these questions and when the darkness descends in me, I fear my only chance for peace is locked within the secrets of her death.

I was able (no, doggedly persistent, in all honesty) to “break” into my friend’s mobile phone. I sat for hours searching through the most private of communications. To date, it has not been my finest hour. I will admit to becoming almost obsessed with finding any hidden to clue to the nature of her passing. I am desperate to piece together her last hours, the last week — the week whenI thought everything was “fine” and I went about my business as usual.

My need for answers is a purely selfish thing. I want proof absolute that a) I could have done no more than I have ever done, to “save” her, and b) that she did not suffer.

I found myself thinking, sometimes repeating out loud, “please tell me you’re ok”, and “please be ok”. When I went to see her body before her funeral, again I said “you’ll be ok now”. Its only now that I am struck by how much weight I have added to that silly little word…OK. The answers I crave most in this world can only be answered by one person and she is not around to answer them.

The majority of our other friends have not felt the need to seek any answers; the pain of losing this bright spark has been more than enough to deal with, and in reality what relief will it bring?

Grief plays sick tricks on you, it is powerful enough to convince you that you are responsible in some way. The easiest answer is to blame someone and who better than yourself? I have told myself I could have done more, I should have done more but that pulls the focus of my energies into a purely selfish quest.

You are desperate to feel anything other than this unending grief and you pick at the “How? /Why?” scab on a daily basis. My need to know that my friend is somehow “ok” (replace with at peace if preferable) is too mind-blowing for someone with no faith to speak of. I have to trust my brain that tells me of course she is ok, she can’t feel anything now. But is that enough?

Sometimes we can use pursuit for answers to paper over the cracks of our feelings about our loss. It is not the manner of the passing that is important. The answers may calm the grief monster inside you for a while, but you will have to address the loss as a whole. I am now only just coming to terms with the fact that is normal to have these feelings, normal to want answers and normal to want the comfort of knowing your loved one is somewhere safe. Whether or not you believe in anything after this life, you need to understand that you will still have questions that may never be answered.

I know I must try to be kinder to myself. I must try not to hide my grief behind my need for a scientific, evidential answer to the most emotional, spiritual of questions. I must trust that my beautiful friend is somewhere safe. Mostly in my heart and what happened before or since does not matter. She was here and I loved her and even though she left too soon, I am all the better for knowing her.

 

Annie Marler

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I started off thinking I should write my bio about my professional achievements, but it seemed so contrived and not really what I wanted to tell people about at all. I maintain that my biggest and greatest achievement in life is forming and maintaining healthy relationships. I am lucky to have a small group of wonderful friends who I can always turn to in any situation and a supportive Husband who thinks I'm brilliant, even when I may not give him cause to think this way! Recently I lost one of my best friends, in still unexplained circumstances and it is this huge, horrible event that has made me want to reach out for others, dealing with a similar situation to myself. I don't pretend to have all the answers, I am finding my way through this grief as best I can. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don't. I am Annie, I am 36 years old, living and working in Suffolk and dealing with the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life. The prologue to this story is that my life before Heidi's death was pretty standard, nothing too dramatic to report, of course I don't and wouldn't ever take this for granted. Teenage years were relatively simple and after graduating from University in 2003, I found myself "falling" into a variety of professions, usually centered around the concept of "Helping" others, sometimes in a therapeutic setting, sometimes at crisis point and more recently in preventative work. After gaining my diploma in counselling and psychotherapy I spent many years working with children and young people within the social care setting. I have since then moved onto working in a secondary school, helping children before they reach this crisis point and it has truly been one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had. 

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