I sometimes wonder if life would have been easier if the only person we cared for was ourselves. If you have loved and cared deeply for someone and death robs you of this joy, the resulting grief is all powerful; it engulfs you. Would life be simpler if we didn’t care about anyone and hence didn’t grieve?

Grief is like thick, thick fog. It descends upon you. It surrounds you. You can’t see through it. You know there’s a whole world out there but for the moment all you can see is the thick, grey fog. You move slowly, so slowly, through the fog, hoping and praying that it will lift.

This fog of grief can be short lived or it can last for days, even months. The interval between the foggy days can be short or seemingly endless. There is no pattern to this, at least not one you can see. People tell you it will become easier, the fog will lift but when you’re surrounded by it, that doesn’t seem possible.

When the fog eventually lifts it reveals either a grey, wet, miserable day or one where the sun has managed to push aside the clouds and make the day a bit brighter. If it’s the former, you carry on, acutely aware that the fog may descend again. If it’s the latter, you feel guilty for enjoying the sunshine, for welcoming the break in the clouds. If feels as if by letting the sun shine on your face you are dishonouring their memory. You feel scared that you’ll forget them. You wish that the sun would hide behind the clouds, that the fog would engulf you again so you can reassure yourself that you haven’t forgotten, that you’re still hurting, that you are still missing them, that you’ll always miss them.

One day, out of the blue, something reminds you of the day they had said something which had made you laugh, laugh so hard that you had cried. Then you think that though it hurts like hell now, you wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on sharing a laugh with them. The tears of grief that you shed now are a small price to pay for the tears of joy you had shed with them. So, life may have been easier if we just cared for ourselves but it would have been a life devoid of joy, of laugher, of happiness, of love.

Death, you took away the person but you can’t take away the memories, the memories which now help me move out of the fog into sunshine. And I know they would want me to feel the sun on my face again. They know that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten them.

I never will.

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