Sure I've experienced grief before but this is different. After all the person who I used to share a bedroom with has gone. There's little of the denial, bargaining and anger that Kubler Ross described in her five stage model. I always suspected that grief was more individualistic than this. Yes, occasionally it feels as if depression, the third stage, looms large again. I'm tearful at the drop of a hat, intermittently I sleep poorly and lack focus. But I know it's not the real thing because of the immense pleasure that I can take from the little things in life. A beautiful painting, a friendly dog, a corny joke from my son, the still warm buttered baguette from the bread van that I am nibbling on while I write this post: All these things fail to hit home when I've been properly depressed but I'm appreciating them greatly at the moment.
At times it seems incongruent to be enjoying myself on holiday when we've not yet had the funeral. But I wouldn't like my friends and family to put their lives on hold if I died. I know Esther wouldn't have wanted that either. From up on her special cloud that Ibza Queen Vikki assures me that she lives on, I expect that she had a good laugh at a grown woman pretending to be a shark in a pool the other day.
Yes, sometimes there are twinges of guilt. Why should I experience joy and be silly at such a sombre time? But I cast these thoughts away. I'm accepting emotions as they come to me. The surprise is that they're not all tainted with inevitable sadness. There's an immense sense that life's for the living and maybe this is the way that we can best honour the loved ones who are no longer with us.