• Anna Mae

Coping With Grief

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

One of the motivating factors for me finally getting some books into print, was strangely enough the death of my father.

It will always feel like a shame to me that he didn't ever get to see my work, although I always struggled to meet his expectations so perhaps its a good thing my toughest critic doesn't get a say!!

Losing someone you love is a hard life lesson, and I got lucky. I have very little memory of anyone passing when I was a child. Certainly, no-one in my immediate family passed away when I was a child, and it was long after my children were born that my grandparents passed away. Due to geographical locations, whilst I loved them, the hit was not as hard.

I am also a firm believer in rejoicing life when the person passing has made such remarkable age as 96 (as my nanna did).

However, for lots of people the death of a parent is a devastating and surreal experience. Due to the nature of his illness he faded out over a period of time, shrinking from a giant of a man, down to a shrivelled elderly person that I could have lifted of the bed with ease. Again, because he was 79, there was a part of me that thought it was a fair deal, but being my dad, a larger part of me was certainly not happy.

Bringing spirits into my book was quite a cathartic process. It gave me the opportunity to explore the concept of those who have passed still being able to see their loved one, even if, as by the law of spirits, we cannot see them. I do often wonder what his thinks of my books, although they are most definitely NOT his genre of choice!

It was lovely to have my lead character supported by a spirit guide, making her feel valuable and no longer lonely. There have been many times in the last 4 years when I have wanted to ask him something or thought ‘Dad would have known what to do’.

As a child I grew up with a story my dad told from his younger days. Working on the road and commuting a lot, he often needed to stay in ‘boarding houses’, we now call them bed and breakfast! He used to tell me with absolute conviction, that one night he awoke to a feeling of ‘someone’ in his room. Peering bravely out from the covers, he recalled with utmost clarity a large matronly vision, dressed in servants black and white typical of the Victorian era, calmly walking around his bed, tucking the covers, creating neat hospital corners, and as she did so he felt the sheets tighten around him.

Whilst he felt he should be fearful, instead he found himself strangely calm, he knew she meant him no harm, and was just taking care of people as she presumably had done in her working life. He finishes with the recollection that she simply faded away as quickly as she had appeared.

I LOVE this story, and whilst I too wanted to be a little scared there is no doubt the lady meant only good towards my then much younger dad. I often wonder if he had a guide at the end to help him cross. It brings me much peace to think he might have.

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