The Colour of Grief

Annestown, Co. Waterford

Yesterday was my father’s 4th anniversary and it seemed only right to head off on what was a gorgeous day and just ‘be’ with him.

The notion that ‘time heals’ isn’t one that I buy into. I think that a huge amount depends on what one does with the time and also the very idea of ‘healing’ doesn’t quite fit with the way I feel about loved ones who have died.

Ballysaggart, Co. Waterford
Ballysaggart, Co. Waterford

As I have said here before, I feel very strongly that those, like my father, with whom I was very close, remain very much in our everyday lives because of the extent of shared histories and experiences.

Father loved nothing better than to spend a September day off taking photographs and he would lose all sense of time in the process.

Yesterday was very like that. It was a day that was full of colour and nature seemed to be in celebratory mood.

The Vee, Co. Waterford
The Vee, Co. Waterford

Four years may have passed but Father’s presence is as strong as ever.



Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

34 thoughts on “The Colour of Grief”

  1. I agree with you, Jean. My father is still very present in my life though his body is no longer here… I’m in no rush to “get rid of him” either! No matter how much I miss him, he’s still a part of me.

          1. Absolutely! It is also my youngest sister’s birthday! At 4:00 the wind was so strong we had to close our windows… she did to and she looked up and said: “OK, Dad, you win, you wished me happy birthday first!” πŸ˜€

  2. Beautifully written. The idea that “time heals” does not resonate with my own experience either. For me, it has been a constant process of learning to integrate grief as well as the pain of losing my parents. I am not as emotionally fragile as I once was, yet feelings of grief continue to linger in my heart. I sense that perhaps one purpose of my grief is to serve as a beautiful yet poignant reminder of how much I loved and cared for my mother and father – and always will.

    1. Brian, lovely to hear from you and I must say you were on my mind as I wrote the post. Your blog is such a resource in this whole field and it has been very consoling to read your thoughts as you travel a rather similar path to mine

  3. Look at this, Jean, I deliberately opened this post knowing what it would be about. πŸ™‚

    It is not that I have my head in the sand, just that the grief of even dealing with what is happening right now has been building since 1987 and my grandfather’s death at age 87, and the realization not of my grandparents’ mortality, but that of my parents. They were then the age I am now. Last night, I realized my feelings of late have been tied up in grief and loss–about a lot of things, not just my parents. And when I woke this morning, I realized some clarity I have not had in a bit, and it was like a huge burden lifted. Coincidence? I think not.

    My class today included–not planned–discussion of customs after death, and the things we believe and the things our cultures teach us. Coincidence? I think not.

    And then, I see your post…and without hesitation, clicked. Coincidence? I think not. Thank you.

    1. Suz, it sounds like it was a highly significant day for you. It never ceases to amaze me how such days can appear to outsiders as being ordinary. Who ever knows what’s going on in other people’s hearts and minds.
      Glad you opened the post. Thanks!

  4. Your dad would be glad to know you chose to remember his life! To quote Rose Kennedy, β€œIt has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” πŸ™‚ ❀ ❀

    1. Hi Jackie, thanks for your kind words.
      I must say that while I have great respect for Rose Kennedy, I don’t see the grief/time relationship in the same way. The scarring analogy isn’t one that resonates. I’d rather think of a memory garden that is growing and producing lots of colour, scent and energy.

      1. Ooooh… you’re right… gasp! What a dumb place to quote that quote! Putting more thought into it now, I think you and your parents shared many thoughtful moments, hobbies and life experiences together. It makes wonderful sense that you would think of tranquil energy in relation to them… My family, on the other hand, is not so deeply connected. The scarring made sense to me and that’s really quite sad… Sorry again for the misplaced quote. But thank you for opening my eyes with your respectful response πŸ™‚ ❀ ❀

  5. You are so lucky to have been close to your father and continue to sense his presence even now. Even though I wasn’t that close to my father, I still try to hang on to my good memories of him such as his love of the countryside and music, both of which loves I’ve inherited.

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