The multiple pile-up of grief
Deaths have a way of piling up like cars in a motorway accident. It seems trite to put it down to the time of year but any undertaker will tell you this is when they are most busy.
As I write this I am missing a funeral I would very much like to have attended - but I have been to one funeral a fortnight for the past six weeks and there is a limit to how much I can rearrange my work to accommodate them.
In truth, I am also suffering from grief overload. The world seems grey. The unlit Woolworths store on the High Street makes me feel mournful. Wherever I look, I see loss. I am probably resisting the sadness of yet another farewell.
None of the deaths have been devastating - a dear great aunt, who lived a very good life and died at the age of 93, the mother of my best friend whom I have known since my school days....
Though very sad, they have not been like the death of a spouse, or a child, or my own mother. That kind of grief is unignorable and so you don't ignore it and, if you've any sense, you take as much care of yourself as possible as you go through it.
The multiple pile-up of minor griefs affects me in a different way. In some respects it is harder to deal with than the overwhelming loss that is etched in your face, robs you of sleep and leaves you clueless as to whether it is day or night.
I am left with the vague sense of something missing that I can not quite pin down. The people who have died are not people I saw every day, or even often, so at one level their absence makes no difference to my regular routine. It's just walking past that Woolworths store that gets to me...