Sunday, 1 November 2009

Grief - the goldfish, sequins and colander theory

Did I mention that my brother died in the middle of the summer?
Horrible, shocking and tragic.
I have a lovely supportive family and enough true friends, but there comes a point where you just know you can't keep telling them the same thing. Life, like they say, goes on.
That's partly what blogging's about - life going on, not somewhere to wail. In any case wailing hasn’t much going for it unless you have a thing for baggy eyes and a red nose.
However, if a blog is going to be real and representative then I can't ignore it. I tend to blog about whatever was on my mind in the shower in the morning. Perhaps, you didn't need to know that, but there it is.
So I'm going to share my theory of grief.
There's an accepted model of stages: A comforting progression from denial and anger to acceptance. Well, frankly that's codswallop.
Here’s how it goes and there are three elements.
The goldfish.
You know the joke... the goldfish with its three-second memory keeps coming to the front of the bowl gazing out on the familiar scene and saying: "Bl00dy hell, what's that?"
And so it is with grief. It's possible to plod along in a fairly ordinary, mildly jolly kind of way then, often, something will pop up - a message, a memorial, a reminder - and you get: "Bl00dy hell, my brother's dead."
The sequinned outfit.
On the death of a loved one instead of ordinary skin you get given a magical sequinned outfit. On a good day, the sequins are fairly small, dense and well stitched on. You look normal and your poor, tender flesh is reasonably protected.
However, other days, the magic sequinned suit is made of huge, noisy sequins barely held on by a thread and flapping in the slightest breeze. Are you with me? It doesn't take very much before the big discs have flipped out of the way leaving you exposed and sore. And there's not a thing you can do about it because you don’t want to draw attention to it.
Mental colander
Along with the messy clutter of goldfish and sequins flapping about, you also get a colander in your head. It's got enormous holes and anything can fall out of it at any moment. I've forgotten my baby, my sister's visit, important birthdays, routine events and key ingredients. Last night, I dreamed I'd forgotten to send the children to school.
So there you have it - my take on the thing. Hopefully the goldfish will remember something, the sequin sewer will get more diligent and the colander will be replaced by a sieve.


  1. Great to see you blogging again - I missed it!
    Keep it up.

  2. Another laughing and crying one - and I know exactly what you mean. Must go out and buy some more sequins....

  3. A unique way of looking at it but one that makes so much sense.
    Thanks for sharing it and sorry to hear of the loss of your brother.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think you'd have to be there for it to make sense IYSWIM. x


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