Today is the 6th October an unremarkable day; but it is a remarkable date.
It’s the date 56 years ago that Seth Goodburn was born. A date that intersected with my life years later, when Seth and I formed the most wonderous, close relationship, a relationship full of love, fun, empathy, compassion and mutual respect.
If you go to the dictionary and look up the definition of relationship it says
- an emotional association between two people and the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected.
When Seth died, I battled with the need for continuing our relationship, it felt like a battle because society expected me to move on, get over it, especially as time progressed.
I felt weird, I felt like people were judging me and my need for our relationship.
I remember doing an interview about Seth’s Story with the BBC and at the end of interview saying
“Seth asked me to share our story because he was such a selfless man; actually, I am doing that in partnership with Seth, so it’s something that we are doing together even though Seth isn’t here”
When I watched the interview back and I worried that people would think I was a little unhinged.
I often found myself saying things like
“Seth is still such a huge part of my life ….. but don’t think I am weird I don’t set the table for two people and cook two dinners or anything like that “
It felt like I had to justify myself and justify our continuing relationship.
Over the years on anniversaries and at Christmas or when grief felt completely overwhelming, I have written about my feelings and today is no different. Writing is a need fulfilled by the physical process of typing thoughts into words, words into sentences and putting them on the page has proved cathartic. It has helped me validate my feelings, that just because Seth died it didn’t stop me still loving him, it didn’t stop me from still being in love with him….. his death didn’t mean that our relationship ended.
I hope you can embrace my grief through my writing, I hope that my writing gives the unmentionable words of dying, death, bereavement and grief a space to be, to give them room to breathe, to fill a place, to stake a claim, to be part of our collective normal.
I have learned it is normal to grieve and that my relationship with Seth continues but it continues through a veil of grief. A veil that sometimes lifts but always comes back ….. but it’s a veil I have learned to live with.
I have such wonderful memories of Seth so many birthdays we spent together, so much love, and they give me such comfort today, a sense of belonging in a continuing relationship that will only end when I die. Two people forever connected and with an undying emotional connection.
On Friday I was on a webinar and during the session I shared my thoughts which were a reflection on grief
“Society expects you to get over grief, my grief is a real active relationship that never ends; we need people to accept that it’s uncomfortable, messy and doesn’t go away”.
It was a webinar with B J Miller an American palliative care physician, who shares his considerable wisdom about experiences of dying, death, grief and bereavement and his perspectives of work that he does.
Part of his response to my reflection was
“I honestly think for each of us developing our own ways to grieve but then as a group as society, accepting grief, but then not just accepting it but even revelling in it because it means we love ….. it means we care, and it adds significance to our relationships…… we’re not just two people who are cosmic dust who happen to bump into each other and that’s it on we go .”
Seth, today I am revelling in my grief on the sixth birthday without you; because I know I loved you and that I still love you.
Happy Birthday….. I know we were and continue to be more than cosmic dust who happened to bump into each other, and I know that I will love you with all of my heart forever….