Cradling deep rooted grief… and sticking plasters

Cradling deep rooted grief… and sticking plasters

Cradling deep rooted grief. You’re allowed to work through it.

I am positive that a psychologist could glance at my words and give an explanation far greater than the surface level thoughts I have around my deep rooted grief and what it looks like. However, in this message I will unravel such thoughts and you can nod your head in agreement or pause to think if you relate.

My third boy loves sticking plasters/band aids. Recently I spent a whopping £4.99 on a box of clear plasters only to realise there were a mere 16 products inside the pack ( I’ll let you do the math of what each plaster cost). When we arrived home he decided that his teddy had a sore eye and she needed one of the new clear (over priced) plasters to heal her wound.

For a number of days ‘Velvety’ sported her plaster but we could see from looking at her that the plaster didn’t really cover her eye. It was a bit of a botch job to be frank and you may know what I am mean when I say the same clear plasters stick to each other when you peel the protective cover off and proceed to shrivel like a piece of dead skin from the bottom of a Turkish bath. They’re not my favourite.

Nonetheless, Velvety’s eye could be seen, her wound wasn’t patched over completely and it made the cogs in my little head turn. Turn specifically to grief, and my own grief story.

One can put a weak see through plaster over grief. A bit of a careless job like Velvety’s poor eye. 

We serve the pain of our loss flippantly, adding a flimsy plaster to the top when another loss occurs in our life. Grief still poking its head through the clear bits and to the sides. 

I often write about grief and find it both comfortable and comforting .

Since Friday 19th April 1991, as I stood with my bum against the radiator in our family kitchen, seven days before my eighth birthday, my Uncle David explained to me and my brother that Daddy had died. It was at this point that grief entered in. I don’t remember the specific words delivered but during that moment grief got into my sore eye and I’ve patched it up poorly ever since. 

Sometimes allowing the wound to heal a bit, other times to close over completely and mostly to look like a patchwork of bad shrivelled plasters not doing their job.

Perhaps you find the same. You are overwhelmed by grief in your daily life so you push it aside until the next time you feel like opening up. 

I remember speaking to my late Grandmother after I miscarried a baby. She shared her own tragic experience of loss and we wept together. She said “It just wasn’t talked about back then Alyson”. 

Surely now we talk more than ever- at least online we do. Everyone shares their “status”, their laundry rooms and romantic kisses. One can appear to be as open a book as they wish.

From fake teeth to false smiles we hide behind the filters. All the while the wounds of our grief are seeping at the side needing our attention.

When I journeyed through my own six weeks of counselling before my thirtieth birthday I learned many tools to cope with my over thinking complicated mind. But one thing that stood out was that trauma, loss, grief or pain will bubble and bubble until it explodes. It may explode twenty years after the event but unless its allowed to over flow and burst through the sticky plaster, it is not completely aired and healed.

Grief can feel shameful.\

It seems embarrassing to be sad or lonely or to look like you are moaning and playing the victim. But that is not the case. Through my years as an art educator I can firmly say that talking is a therapy. Sharing is a shield in the daily fight against stuffing the pain farther down. 

When someone shares their grief story with me I feel honoured and want to encourage. It’s not about whose pain is greater or how well we cradle the lumps and bumps that come with loss.

It’s about dealing with more than the surface level so we unravel and work through our own grief at the pace we see fit. 

Velvety’s sticky plaster wasn’t fit for the job. She needed a new plaster and more tender loving care. You are more valuable than a stuffed teddy bear and your grief requires such. 

To read more about my grief journey or to view the paintings I make in response to placing importance on the everyday check out my website and blogposts

Please seek professional help through your doctor or contact Cruse or Grief encounter helplines.