Dying to tell you ...

Dianne Monnier By Dianne Monnier, 22nd Jan 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Bereavement

An excerpt from a daughter's journal, recording the journey of grief and depression, following the death of her mother.

The Hollow Place

3 years and 4 months … since my mother died. I was supremely confident that I would avert the forewarned prospect of grief-induced depression. I’d had phone counselling … weekly calls in which we explored the concept of anticipatory grief. The words rolled off my tongue like fresh cream off a spoon. I’d studied some psychology and had my share of therapy so the terrain was vaguely familiar. Feelings were raw, tangible, awkward … so I skulked around the garden, phone in hand, conscious of the growing despair taking residence within my mother.

That was the first time I discovered the Hollow Place … that visceral space, in the pit of your stomach, incessantly gnawing and grumbling in the absence of food. I thought it would vanish. Would sullenly retreat or grow smaller like a puddle, its edges slowly contracting in obeisance to the Sun. But it swelled in proportion to time – in a way I’d not anticipated.

The early emotional post-mortem took place in a grief support group. The same jargon rose like rogue balloons lost from a child’s fat grip. I felt an ironic, comfortable clumsiness – the first to ‘share’, breaking the ice that settled in sad stalagmites around the group. Two months later, the circle closed and I felt … something other than grief.

Anger followed in hot pursuit and surprised me with its ferocity. The predicted ‘stages of grief’ seemed resolute on playing a tune of their own making. I sat, tear stained, vacuous, drunk in a mind-numbing lethargy, beautifully and poignantly captured by C. S. Lewis: On the rebound one passes into tears and pathos. Maudlin tears. I almost prefer the moments of agony. These are at least clean and honest. But the bath of self-pity, the wallow, the loathsome sticky-sweet pleasure of indulging in it – that disgusts me.

But today … an epiphany! The Hollow Place will always be there; the space you once inhabited … the space that will never be filled – can never be filled. The journey now is one of acceptance; acknowledging that the Hollow Place will always be there … learning to allow it to reside alongside me in symbiosis … to simply ‘be’ … to pay my respects … remind me of the tenuousness of life … the inviolate laws of nature … and the intuitive knowing that you’re always with me. In this life and the next.

C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, Faber, London, 1961.


Bereavement, C S Lewis, Cancer, Counselling, Death, Depression, Dianne, Dying, Family, Loss, Loss Of A Loved One, Monnier, Mother, Poetry, Prose, Psychology

Meet the author

author avatar Dianne Monnier
Dianne Monnier B.A., Grad. Dip. Ed., is a poet, writer, editor and researcher. Her work has been described as in the style of l’écriture féminine.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
22nd Aug 2011 (#)

Hello Dianne, My deepest thoughts and prayers go with you in your loss my friend. What an excellent piece you have written on a difficult subject:-((

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author avatar Dianne Monnier
23rd Aug 2011 (#)

Thank you :)

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