Excerpt from Chapter 11
Losing a loved one
“You can’t just plan a moment when things get back on track, just as you can’t plan the moment you lose your way in the first place.”
― Sarah Dessen
In 1995 I lost a nephew. He was 21 years old and died through misadventure after returning from a night out celebrating moving on to university.
Despite being responsible and leaving his car at home he was himself hit by a car on the way home.
His death was completely unexpected and I can still remember the conversation when his parents knocked on our door at 1 o’clock in the morning to tell us the awful news.
The raw emotion was difficult to contain and on reflection, it varied as to how different people handled the news.
The father handled it by trying to be humorous, which at times seemed cold and heartless, the women were openly distraught and I was quietly reflective.
The world goes on ‘hold’ for the days between the incident and the funeral. For most the desire is to return to some semblance of normality. For me the opportunity to get back to work, back to a routine was paramount.
On returning to work you had to address the expected, difficult and sensitive questions, but getting out in front of the customer was one of the best remedies available to try and get back to normal.
The raw emotion was indeed difficult to contain, and the word ‘contain’ is exactly the right and wrong word.
The emotion will bring your chimp to the fore and it is important to allow your chimp to grieve.
We often talk about ‘falling off a precipice’ after trying to be strong for everyone, holding and hiding your chimp away.
But to try and contain, or wrestle, your chimp is a mistake.
A chimp is up to 5 times stronger than a human, and that is true in the physical as well as the cerebral sense, so to try and wrestle a chimp is a futile exercise.