Sunday, 24 April 2011

In which I am not ready for prime-time

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Yesterday, I went to the shop, because I must buy and eat food. I thought that was perfectly all right. There is a kind of adrenaline I have found in the beginning of grief. I'm not sure if that is the same for everyone. On the first morning after, I walked round and round the block, as the sun beat down, talking to friends, remembering good times, making jokes. Making jokes? But then I rather loved that there was room for laughter in the remembrance. That felt right.

I could not sit still, so I walked and walked, until the Duchess actually refused to go another step, planting herself on the path and looking at me with baffled eyes.

There was a hovering sense of unreality, but as long as I was with the family, getting calls from the good friends, and the Beloved Cousin, who rings each day, that was fine. Not fine, exactly, but finer than I might have thought.

I was a bit vague in the shop. I just thought: protein, and green things. Chicken, I thought; I must make chicken soup.  Then I ran into someone I know, not very well, whom I have not seen for a long time. She had to say hello twice before I realised that she was there.

'You look in a bit of a daze,' she said.

In my head, I said: my Dad died.

Out loud I said: 'Oh yes, I suppose I am.' I did a silly me sort of laugh and tried to focus my eyes. I nodded and shrugged.

We made small talk. Because we are British, we spoke of the weather. I heard myself say: 'I am so glad there is some rain for the garden. The poor flowers are frantic for rain.'

In my head, I said: But my Dad died.

I nodded and smiled some more. Don't say anything, I thought. You can't talk about death in the Co-Op.

That poor woman, I thought, she must think I am so rude.

When I got home I thought how funny it is. Funny peculiar, really, more than funny ha ha. I think I actually thought my grief was going rather well. It's a clean thing, strong and authentic, running through my body like a river. It is tears and laughter. It is a lot of love. But it is more fragile than I thought. It is not yet ready to go out of the house.



I bought some roses. They are a little bit out of focus:

24th April 2


24th April q


24th April 3

24th April 4


And for those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter.

And thank you again for all the many wonderful comments. I know that a lot of you know all about this. That you took the time to leave messages is incredibly moving. Forgive me for not replying to you individually.


  1. Dear Tania,I am thinking of you and I am very sorry for your loss.regards Sue

  2. You write so beautifully about such a painful subject. I say what we with my oldest girlfriends say to each other in times like these, 'Kämppiä'. It's not even a word really but a combination of Finnish and Swedish and loosely translated means, 'Try to bear up', or 'Keep your fighting spirit up.'

    Helena xx

  3. Tania I can so identify with you .. I lost my father eight years ago.. that you may say is an age and that I should be over it now.. Yes I am .. but I remember so well how you are feeling it is an unreal reality that you want to wake up from .. something you want to change but cannot .. I am so sorry xx
    The only thing I can say is that you do carry on .. you find joy again and you will always feel him around you
    All my love Ruth xx

  4. Dear Tania,
    There is NO timetable for this.
    In your OWN time, in your OWN way.

  5. So sorry...I know what you mean about leaving the house, when my stepmother died I felt like my skin was too thin, I was too raw for human contact. Too exposed and emotions way too close to the surface. THe chicken soup will help in some small measure. You write about something I dread the most and knowing you are getting through it comforts me. I love Helena's description of the Swedish Finnish word...hang in there. L x

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  7. Tania, I am so, so sorry for your sadness. Your father sounds like such a wonderful man.
    Take your time. It will seem impossible for a while that life will continue without him.
    Sending you much love and thoughts xx

  8. I don't think any of us expect you to reply back to comments individually. Not now. As much as anything else, this is "Us" letting you know that you have touched something familiar, put the words together that strike the chord in our hearts that says "oh YES". Which is something we need to do, to share your sorrow, because sorrow is part of love.

    That you are doing the things that must be done - feeding yourself, feeding the dogs - the routine things can root us, give us the small centre of stability to hang onto in the midst of grief. And one day it will be a bit easier.

    As Pat says - in your own time, in your own way.

    With enthusiastic ear licks from Feraghus the Wolfhound.

  9. You're just not "ready for your public". I can only imagine what you're going through as I haven't lost a parent yet. Don't put limitations on yourself, just wander through the moments. All my love to you. xxx

  10. So sorry for your loss, thinking of you.


  11. I have heard of British reserve but have not actually faced it ever. It is such a difficult time for you and I do hope you cope but it is not a crime to cry or to reminisce or laugh over good times past. My thoughts with you always.

  12. Dear Tania, I have nothing to add because nothing will make it any better but at least you have the gift to write about it so beautifully. Much love, Christina xx


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