Day 33 of Isolation. How grief and loneliness go hand in hand.

It has been a tricky week, mentally. And I lost my motivation to write my daily morning to-do lists, I drank alcohol – my trusty old crutch -, one day I hardly spoke because speech felt so inane. The only constant has been reading. Salvation from the prison of the mind.

I spent three days cuffed to grief. The close familiar sort that you can’t shut the door on where everywhere your thoughts turn he’s holding your hand, but that’s too much.

One morning, I thought I’d keep the curtains pulled forever and never bother to look at the taunting sunshine again. I lit Dad’s candle, which I usually save for evenings, and switched on the fairy lights, knelt over on the floor trying not to cry loudly because I didn’t want to wake up my brother in the next room and also the noisy parts of grief are so lonely, then I fell back to sleep with the hurt in my chest like a tight compression of enormous snowflakes.

When I did get up (I had to because I didn’t want my “little” brother to see how I felt, he gets migraines when he’s stressed, and when he worries about the rest of us, it could trigger), I bit back tears all day. I read a whole book.

Israel didn’t say much, but he stayed by my side from the moment he got up till the time he went to bed. When he cooked, he danced in front of the cooker exactly the way Dad used to and he smiled so freely the way Dad used to and he fed me just how Dad used to.

That day, the beauty of seeing Dad in him was like being daggered in the eyes.

The only thing I said to my brother was, “You know when someone dies and you feel like everything should stop? The world should stop?” He looked at me. I said, “Well it has now (because of isolation), isn’t it weird?” He didn’t answer.

We stared at the blue sky and suddenly everyone was on their doorsteps clapping, banging saucepans, beeping car horns and setting off fireworks for the NHS.

I wonder if so many people find isolation hard because they’re confronted by loneliness. Isolation hasn’t brought me that. But when the loneliness of grief barged in, I remembered how terrible loneliness felt when I had it before.

… and there are so many lonely people in this world. I think of all their chests packed with snowflakes. It’s chilling.

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