Next to my bed I have a huge pile of books …’Gone Girl’, ‘The Hundred Year old Man who climbed out of the window and Disappeared ‘ ,’When You’re Falling, Dive: Using Your Pain to Transform Your Life, ‘Top 10 London’ ( gives me info to offer our students ) to name but a few , but I just cannot read them – I can’t even open them .The enormity of reading them overwhelms me .Sounds pathetic ( which it probably is ) , but at the moment I can just cope with short articles .I keep all the bits I like from the weekend papers and dip into them when I feel I can face reading stuff. I read lots of snippets about travel, recipes,blind-dates,houses, families, and absolutely nothing about the news . I fear I’m turning into Geoffrey with all my quoting of stuff, except I know I’m not turning into him cos he didn’t read about grief and he was up to date with current events ,plus he could do The Telegraph cryptic crossword ( even after half a bottle of gin and close on a bottle of vermouth ) on a daily basis .
Hardcore grief is a tricky one – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone .It gets into your bones .It stops you in your tracks .It makes you weaker.It makes you stronger .It makes you think you’re a bit crazy .It makes you sad .It isolates you. It makes you passive.It makes you angry .It wears you out.It makes people avoid you .It makes people support you.It makes you unable to sleep or read .It makes you sleep .It makes you read weird stuff. The exclusion makes you feel people think you are less interesting .
But this is probably the best response to someone who is deeply grieving ,I have ever read ( in this instance ,Julian Barnes for his wife ,Pat Kavanagh ).
“The thing is” ,his friend wrote, ” nature is so exact,it hurts exactly as much as it is worth, so in a way one relishes the pain. If it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t matter’.
That sort of explains it