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It’s like the dominant emotion of grief is confusion

The first three months of the year really do suck. Our birthday followed by the anniversary of Red Twin’s death in quick succession. I do not have a plan for Tuesday.

It’s not disorganisation. I’ve known the date was coming. It’s hard not to. Apart from the fact 22 March is on the calendar, my sleep is disrupted and I notice myself getting crankier with the boys. But I just watch the date edge nearer and… that’s it. I just watch it.

I know it’s important to make space, to mark these milestones. I can feel my body and my mind reaching towards that. But I can’t work out what to do. I blocked out that day from PhD work but what will I do instead? I have a friend I could ask to hang out with me but I wrote a message to her and then deleted it. I don’t know if I want to be with others or alone, or what I’d do if I was with someone else. I still don’t know how to do this day. Just like I still don’t know how to do life without her.

I guess grief is so confusing because you’re trying to find your way in a new world. We know quite a bit about living in new worlds, and worlds that seem like they should be familiar but are different in subtle ways (and not so subtle ones.) It takes creativity, flexible thinking and self-kindness to live in a world like that. And. So. Much. Energy.

It’s Lent and we’re fasting, so my energy levels are kind of low. But it feels appropriate to this season of sadness. Like I can play out in my body the lowness and the sadness I can’t articulate my way through. Maybe like wearing sackcloth and ashes?

This weekend we were invited to dinner at some friends’ house for the anniversary of his mother’s death three years ago. It was beautiful for them to have a chance to publicly talk about their departed loved one and for us to share with them in it. My instinct is that I have a lot to learn from that but I don’t have the wherewithal to think about how I might do something similar.

A mentor of mine lost her husband several months ago and I asked her how she was doing because you can’t not say anything and she was like, what is there even to say? Despite the fact that I have, actually, had quite a bit to say, I get where she’s coming from. I am where I am in this alternate reality where Red Twin is not and I am mainly just confused about that. I’m not trying to push down the sadness but I’m also not sure how to give it shape. People keep telling me it will get better, that I will find my way but really, I am still mainly just confused.

Categories: Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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