After she told me this, I decided to stop talking to her about my feelings of sadness, worry and guilt. On top of my unwarranted guilt about Butch's passing, I now felt guilty about the effect I was having on her health.
Three years later, we were talking about the impact that event had on us both. I described how alone and isolated I felt, not being able to share my innermost thoughts and feelings to my daughter. She had wondered wby I'd become quiet about my grief after that day. She'd noticed I wasn't forthcoming and assumed I hadn't wanted to talk about it any more.
I withdrew into myself, afraid to say anything that would impact on her health. As I'd lost most of my friendship base after Butch passed, there was really no one I could share the thoughts that were now rocketing around in my head. Calling my Mum or friends on the telephone wasn't a substitute for being able to pour out my emotions and fears in to someone who knew him as well as I did. As a result, I became seriously ill. I felt alone with my pain with no way to release it. My world became a dark dismal place. I stayed in that space for over a year.
When we discussed it, my daughter said she had also felt alone, as if she couldn't talk to me about what she was going through either. So, because of this comment, we'd both lost the opportunity to share our grief, to release our pain and to remain connected in a way that would have supported both of us.
When we lose someone we love and grief is a foreign country to us, we can be influenced by others beliefs and advice. It is important to filter what others have to say and decide whether they know what they are really talking about. After all, it doesn't matter who they are, they aren't you and they have no idea what you are going through or how your personal expedition into grief will unfold.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - Grieve in your way, in your time and in a way that suits you.