Immediate grief

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This is a guest post from Jonathan Taylor, an independent funeral celebrant in Totnes and occasional funeral arranger and conductor for green fuse. He is a regular commenter on this blog.

I’m in turmoil.

My son’s girlfriend’s sister died this afternoon at 4.30. She was hit by a bus
about ten days ago, and we were all just starting to feel optimistic about her
survival, if still very uncertain about her quality of life, until today.

And now there is no life whose quality we have to consider.

I want to tell you how it is affecting me, in case it helps you to hear it as
much as it helps me to get it out into the light. Lovely, delightful, young,
sassy, pretty, infuriating, loveable as she was, she was not my relative, and I
didn’t even know her all that well. I’m only on the peripherals of the family
web, which is shaken to its core. I don’t seem to be grieving for any one
person I can identify, least of all myself, not yet anyway; but this is as
profound a grief as I have ever felt. The first wave is over, and I’m writing
this while waiting for the next one. Wave of what, though?

While watching myself crying, shaking and screaming into a cushion, I felt like
a wolf, hearing the call from my pack members howling from the mountains, ‘all
is not well, leave what you’re doing and attend, every one of you.’ It’s a
primal thing. Animal.

And right now, I’m feeling a deep envy for the animals. Instinct tells them
what to do, without question. They are unencumbered by intellect, with its
attendant beliefs and values and morals and judgements and literature. They
don’t have to wonder about what’s going on, they just know. And perhaps best of
all, they can howl out loud their unrestrained regret, without having to think
about the neighbours.

So if I’ve ever expressed an opinion on this blog, dear readers, I take it back
forthwith. I just don’t know. This is awful, but even now I can see it’s a
good thing that’s happening to us all, given that she’s already dead.

All for now, with love,


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