I wrote a piece for Sepsis Research back in April that they have been saving to use at Christmas time. Spoiler alert; it's not a feelgood festive read! They sent it over to me to double check I was still happy with it. It felt strange reading back my words from months ago. Grief is an ever moving thing, sometimes up, sometimes down, but never static. In one sense it makes it easier to deal with, the thought that how I feel in that moment will not be the same as how I feel later in the day, or even a moment later. Some things are like a physical punch in the gut, but just like the actual event, once the breathlessness has passed so too does the pain. I guess the phrase would be "And this too shall pass"
If I consider it, it's probably the reason that I really try and soak up the good times, the knowledge that, just like the bad, they are transient and need to be enjoyed in that moment. it's not easy, life is busy and, as much as I try, it's hard to not sweat the small stuff. "Mindfulness" and "being present" are such buzz words now that it is hard not to do an eye roll at their very mention. But the reality is that their popularity is because they drill down to the most important part of being alive, and that is to live and experience life, not let it pass by unremarked on.
Death is an unavoidable consequence of life, getting old should be embraced as an opportunity that not everyone had the benefit of experiencing. Lauren did not get that chance. I am always careful to not compare different grief experiences, as they are all unique and there is no grief that is worse than another, just grief. What I do experience, because Lauren died so early in her life, is a kind of double loss. I miss Lauren, all her intricacies, her messiness, her desire to always be in a dressing gown, her kindness, I could go on, but I'm sure you get it, I miss the girl that lived. But I also miss the girl, the young woman, that didn't live. The one that didn't get chance to stress over exams, never feel in love, passed her driving test, got married, I miss that person too. When someone is torn from you at a young age, the grief and pain for all the things they didn't do can feel worse than the loss of the person themselves. I know that Lauren was loved and had a happy, albeit too short, life, That knowledge brings comfort. But it doesn't help with the grief of a Life not Lived, there is no consolation, nothing to soothe the pain. I just have to hold on to the awareness that this pain will pass. It may return, but no emotion stays with you for all moments, not even the good emotions.