Hospital, My Father, and the Right to Grieve

As I write this. the local blackbird is singing its heart out. It’s around 05:30 am. The sun will be rising as I’m writing this . on a mental health hospital ward, again.

I’m a bit ashamed to say that I’ve had a lot of fun these last few days. From a truly nasty case of depression, my mood has flipped, and I now feel slightly high: an elevated mood, that is, nothing to do with illegal drugs.

I’ve just checked the time: it’s 05: 40, so not a bad guess, It means I’ve got around 6 – 7 hours sleep. Pretty good for someone who, two months ago, hardly stirred from her bed.

What does this have to do with my father? Rather a lot actually. His death, three years ago next month, is part of the reason I’m on the ward again.

Back in 2016, I wrote a blog about the right to grieve. Many of us felt lost and lonely when David Bowie died, early that year. Others asked what was the fuss all about: we didn’t actually know the man.

Yes, I’m happy. This, despite the mess that was parts of Jan, all of of February, and most of March. April, usually a shite month due to various deaths, has been a good friend to me in 2021 – so far, at least.

It’s four years since I last worked, yet the old desire to help and not hinder is still strong, stronger than any stay in hospital, since my first hospitalisation, many years ago.

I’m washed & dressed, have combed my hair, & brushed my teeth, and am ready to go.

It’s now 06:45. I’ve had two cuppas and my Pot Noodle, Breakfast isn’t until 08:30. The birds are singing in the back garden, and the sun is up. Four or five other patients are awake now,

My father’s birthday passed without incident, and yet the first two anniversaries of his death were difficult. Part of the problem is:

  1. Dad was 95 when he died, so hardly before his time;
  2. I understand the usual grieving time is two years.

It’s now 07:54. I’m in the dining room with three other patients, and cuppa tea number four.

Wherever and whenever you are, I wish you well.


About Sheila N

Enough about me. Art by Tom Brown.
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5 Responses to Hospital, My Father, and the Right to Grieve

  1. Stephanie Bisby says:

    I was surprised to read that 2 years is a ‘normal’ grieving period. Everyone is different. You have a right to grieve. And a right to have fun.

  2. Suzanne Stevens says:

    Grieving has no timeline. Some act as if I should be over Mark’s passing just a year and a little more ago. I am not. I have never fully recovered from my son’s death , my dad’s and two of my siblings. Loss is a very real, very heartbreaking and we all deal with it differently Mark’s absence will always be a he in my heart and a constant companion. Not necessarily unwelcome, but not a companion either.

    You have done well. I hope I can do the same as I try to dispel this darkness. 🤎🤎

  3. Nimue Brown says:

    I have a friend whose father’s death didn’t even really hit her until 3 years on. There is no normal. Wishing you well. x

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