I’m a secretary and part of my job is to answer the phone. I do it automatically, saying my little blurb each time, and I think nothing of it. Yesterday, I sat at my desk and reached for the receiver as the phone started to ring. Having said my blurb, I heard a voice…
“Hello, how are you?”
Instantly, my stomach did a somersault and heat washed over my body. My tongue froze in my mouth so I was unable to talk.
I pressed the phone to my ear, wanting to hear more, not wanting to break the spell. I must have made some sort of noise that satisfied the caller.
“What are you doing?” This was followed by a little laugh.
“Mum, it’s Daniel.”
Their voices were so different, yet when they “played around” they sounded very much alike. I admit that I was disappointed. Not because I didn’t want to talk to Daniel, but because I really wanted to talk to Barry. I think Daniel would understand that.
A couple of hours later I spoke to Gary about it. I said that I couldn’t understand why after 16 months I’d react like that. I’ve accepted that Barry is dead. It doesn’t make sense that I’d receive a phone call from him. It’s just not possible, but I would have quickly believed that he was still here. It amazes me how quickly I would have accepted that the phone call was from him.
Gary said that he could understand why I was so quick to believe. He said that if it happened to him, he’d want to believe it was Barry too. It would be the opportunity to save the things he needed to say, and it must be a much stronger need in me.
It got me thinking about how vulnerable people are in this situation. I realise how easy it would be to take advantage of someone who felt so desperate and lost, and yearned to be close to someone they had lost. And the sad thing is that there are people out there who would use another person’s grief for their own personal gain.
So it’s important to reiterate an important fact in grief – don’t make spur of the moment decisions. Don’t let people talk you into selling the house and moving. Don’t allow anyone to pack away your loved one’s belongings, not unless it’s something you want wholeheartedly. Don’t give another person access to your bank account(s) with the assumption that the person is “just trying to help” or is “taking the burden from you”. You might find that more than the burden is taken from you and that there might be ulterior motives for them wanting you to sell the house (if they can talk you into selling it, maybe they can talk you into other things where the money is concerned).
Besides, the grieving need to live life and continue to do things for themselves. No matter how hard it is to accept…life does go on. And whilst it’s hard to get out of bed in the beginning, let alone cook a meal or even think about keeping the house clean, it does get easier. We just need time. At the end of that terrible time, when life begins to have some sense of normal to it, then you will be in a better frame of mind to make decisions.