Don’t lose sight of the big picture
There’s a saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Grief to me sometimes can feel like that. You can’t see the future for the present and in this moment you are filled with the biggest sadness and emptiness humanly possible. Grief has somehow become my friend; after all we’ve been introduced four times. We’re practically on first name basis now. My first introduction to grief was my mother dying when I was 12. I am 26 now. It wasn’t expected, it was from nowhere, it was the blindside you never want to experience. We were in a car accident and the resulting injuries from the accident resulted in complications leading to a fatal heart attack. The day she died started like any other except for the phone call in the morning that said she wasn’t well. But onto school I went. I could still see the forest. The trees were only faint outlines, my big picture was a happy family, my first year of high school, new friends. But then the trees appeared in all their glory. I was told she had died. The bright shining light in my life had dimmed to nothing. I don’t remember much following, but I do remember saying goodbye and promising her that I would do my best. I would make her proud. The trees stayed in the way for quite some time. I feel into a dark cloud, spending a lot of time alone, using drawing and art to express myself and my feelings. I would write and write and write. Sometimes poetry, sometimes I would just pour my heart out. My mum’s death was like the elephant in the room. My father had the carpet ripped out from underneath. His grief permeated our household. He had lost the love of his life. Not only had her light dimmed but his too lost some lustre. Bit by bit though we worked through as a family. My grandparents never quite recovered. Brave faces were worn but we could see the cracks in each other. Some days the trees came up and smacked me in the face. Moments when friends would tell me of outings with their mums. Moments of wanting her to be there to listen to me and my stories. Moments of doing all I could and making her proud if only she was there to witness it.
Soon I found my forest again. It involved cooking and sewing. Both connected me to her and her memory. She was amazing at both. Nothing was too hard for her to cook or sew. With each dish I created, with each thing I sewed a new memory of us spending quality time together surfaced. Soon the decision to become a chef became a solid reality. It wasn’t just a forest anymore; it was a world I was going to conquer. So onwards I journeyed, the simple fact she had died just another thing I handled. Each day, each moment, it became doable. Then the trees…always these trees. My grandmother’s battle with diabetes complications took their toll. She passed on leaving my granddad bereft and my father saddened once more. We consoled ourselves thinking at least she was with her daughter again. Her suffering was over. But our suffering was

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