Sunday 15 July 2012

Week 1...

There have been a couple of firsts already this week. Thursday marked a year since the death of my brother. I cannot explain how awful I felt that day. Even after I had worked up the drive to get out of bed, I climbed back under the duvet at one point and considered staying there (and not just for the day). 

I had deliberately made sure I had no work planned for the day; I knew I would be in no state to concentrate. But my family had plans for the afternoon and evening, which included a trip to the cemetery, a picnic in the park and a trip to see Rhys Darby AKA Murray from Flight of the Concords - we thought that's where Nathan would have been that evening if he was still with us. I think this was a fitting way to mark the day. And I actually enjoyed the show. In some ways it is good to have some time as a family where we have a shared sense of grieving. Sometimes it is all too easy to carry on about our individual lives without acknowledging that we're all thinking of him. 

Today has been another first. My lovely little niece, my first and only niece who was born a few weeks after Nath's death, was baptised. She looked so lovely in her little white dress and was so good. Despite not being particularly religious myself, and despite the obvious trials of family get-togethers when one person is so obviously missing, it was a really lovely day.

That may seem enough for my first week of ‘firsts’ but I feel the need to do something else. 

"When you feel helpless, help someone." - Aung San Suu Kyi

I saw this quote recently on a website for a project called We-are-lucky (a brilliant experiment in giving, you should take a look if you haven't heard of it already). Helpless would be one adjective I would use to describe how I feel at the moment. I feel helpless in the face of what has happened. Helpless to control my emotions. 

But, most of all, I feel helpless to help other people. In particular, I feel helpless to help the rest of my family.

When I feel at my lowest, I know that the rest of my family have probably also felt that low. And I know that there’s very little I can do about it. But the simplicity of Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement makes easing my helplessness seem more achievable. I do not have to help my family by curing all their problems. In fact, the person I help does not even have to be in my family. Just the simple act of helping somebody, anybody, will hopefully help me. And I think becoming happier and more emotionally stable in myself would also help my family in the long run.

So now I have to find the opportunity to help somebody as my ‘first’ for this week. 

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