My Bereavement, My Journey

October 2020

My Yellow Brick Road

I am just about to enter my 6th Month living on my own after losing Mike and in some ways it still feels as raw today as it did then.

I always thought I was a strong person but I wasn’t. Grief tapped on my shoulder and I made the mistake of turning around.
Bereavement Anxiety the doctors call it. I never realised what a horrible, horrible thing it is. It chews you up and spits you out and before you know it you are a quivering mess. No-one warns you about it. I have lost both my parents so I know how sad death can make you but this… this is so much more than crying and feeling sad. Everyone is different, everyone’s grief is unique to them and varies from the loss of pets, parents, siblings, partners and children. The one thing in common it is pretty certain that everyone will experience at some time during their lifetime. In spite of this no-one warns you what it’s all about. There is so much out there to help with the consequences but nothing that teaches you how to prepare but is that even possible?

So this is my story, in my words, what I call my Yellow Brick Road. A little insight into what happened and is still happening to me and if it helps you understand a little the next time you meet someone who has suffered a bereavement or even helps you then that’s good. Of course you don’t need to read it, it is a bit drawn out, but if you do, please do not reply with sympathetic responses because that is not what this is all about. Just inwardly digest and remember.

I find it easier to compare this with the Wizard of Oz story.

It began in April 2020 when my life was hit by a horrendous hurricane lifting it up and smashing it to pieces. After a while it all calmed down and I found myself on the Yellow Brick Road. I am not sure how I got there or why but I knew I had to follow the path to find the Wizard of Oz so I could get back to my normal life somehow. Little did I know at that time life as I knew it had gone. Mike had gone, it was no more.

The beginning of the Journey was not too bad. There was so much going on in my head. So many plans to make so many things to do that I didn’t notice the negative shadows moving in. Then I felt it, there was something in the air, sapping my strength making me feel weak, slowing me down and making me feel physically ill. I soon discovered it was the Wicked Witch of Grief. She would swoop down on me when I least expected it, making me feel sick, stealing my appetite. Quite often she would disrupt my sleep, remove my concentration and convince me I was also terminally ill and was going to die. I also felt she really didn’t want me to get to the Wizard or return home.

Some months later and at different stages down the road I met three other negative beings on that path.

One was a scarecrow. He was stuffed with straw. He tried to steal my brain and interfered with my reasoning. He made me question everything. He gave me nightmares, he made me forget things, made me feel like I was going mad. He played havoc with my imagination.

The next was a Lion. He was so negative he tried to take all my positivity from me. He
made me feel like giving up, that the fight was over. There was no point staying on the road as there was no end to the path we were on. I didn’t have the faith or the courage to fight to the end, it was easier to give in. I wasn’t strong enough.

The third was a Tin Man. He rattled and clanged because he was an empty frame, just like me. My heart had gone, my life had gone, my future had gone. There was nothing left.

Although my companions were no help to me they continued on my journey. They
appeared to be in no hurry to leave. Somehow when we all pulled together it helped and finally we made it to the Emerald City.

Now, Six months on I am still here on the path to getting ‘home’. I have met the Wizard of Oz and she helped me see things in a completely different light. She made me realise the stuffing in the Scarecrow’s head was actually in mine. The mental effect of the anxiety on my brain didn’t allow me to see things as clearly as I would normally.

The Lion and the lack of courage was my lack of self belief, I lost all hope in myself and could not see my future. The Lion was there as a symbol of my strength. It represented my friends and the two very special ones who supported me and listened to me, helped me get up off the ground and they gave me the courage to keep going.

The Tin Man represented my boys, their families and my family and far from being empty, he was full of love. I then realised that while I have my family I will never be empty and will always feel that love. It never really went away.

As for the Witch of Grief, she still puts in an appearance now and again poking me with her boney fingers just to remind me that the grief will be around for a long time yet.

I have been told that there is a shortage of green paint, green smoke and broomsticks so The witch has been put-on part-time work. Let’s hope she retires soon.

The Wizard has been fantastic. In fact she is not a Wizard, she is a lady counsellor.
She has explained that I cannot go back to my normal life because it will never be
normal again because Mike is not there. She said I could go back but I would need to
build a new life. She also added that as well as the green paint there was a shortage of red sparkle so I would have to wait a while for my red shoes to be ready before I click my heels and go.

So that is it, that is where I’m at and while that wicked witch still gets on my nerves every now and again, I know I will survive this …… I just need to learn to be a little patient.


Hi Gillyrose,

Thanks for sharing this brilliant analogy. It is both sad and hopeful, and it resonated with me as I imagine it will resonate with many in this community.

Hi Hazel
Thank you for your message and kind words.
I find it difficult to understand why no-one talks openly about the effects of grief and the toll it has on the body both physically and mentally. I don’t really know if it had made any difference to me had I known but I would have understood that all the emotions and feelings were a natural process of grieving.
I have been looking on here, reading the posts for a while and it was is so reassuring to see that I am not alone. The people on here are lovely even though they are all suffering. The conversations have been more therapeutic than any counselling I have received and I have noticed a difference in my anxiety!
I decided to write this during one of my sleepless nights, just to let others know that it is so very difficult at the start, but it does get a little easier with time. Although it was written some time ago, I felt this community was the perfect place to post it. I hope it may help someone. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ‘air’ it in public. Where would we be without Sure Ryder? Kindest Regards Gill


Thank you xxx
I needed to read this tonight :heart:

1 Like