It’s amazing how the human body and mind deal with things like bereavement. In fact you don’t even realise it at the time. When someone very close to you suddenly dies, and just isn’t there any more, it takes a while for the shock to sink in. Not just the initial shock; like when you get the phone call or visit from the police… But the after effects – how years can go by before you begin to get back on your emotional feet and are able to carry on close to anything like you were when the person was around.
I reached a point where nothing seemed to matter any more. Work didn’t matter; writing letters or making phone calls, people, what they wanted, what was good for them or bad for them – what was the point? All we do is live and die, and so who cares about the in-between. Really, what difference does it make? What difference does any of it make?
And on top of all of those rather profound ponderings, there’s the simple basic matter of loneliness, of how you can be in a room full of people and yet still feel isolated and alone, and nothing anyone says or does can make the feeling go away. After a while you even begin to resent their trying, but you have to keep that to yourself, good manners and upbringing demand it. And no matter how you feel yourself inside, what you are doing is going on stage – you act the part, the pleasantness, the interaction with others. And then, when you’re alone again, the isolation suddenly comes round the corner at great speed and hits you like a head-on collision with a train.
Then, eventually, the bricklayers of the mind begin to get to work. Slowly, the wall begins to appear, protecting you from the pain of what happened, to stop you from thinking of The Event and instead just remembering the good and happy times before. The mind repairs itself, the emotions become protected again, the sun reappears. Not necessarily for long; it goes behind plenty of clouds for a long time yet. But the rays shine through, and you begin to feel warm again.