A flock of sorrows.

When you have had a very sad thing happen in your life, it is going to come back at you, sometimes. You’ll go through the first few years after it, looking at the world through it, filtered by it, as if the sad thing is a piece of coloured glass you look through, that informs all light with its particular shade.

The glass doesn’t go away. What happens, in time, over years, is that your brain readjusts and you become able to tell red from green again. Yellows look as bright as they ever were. The sun shines on you, you forget that you view the world through that piece of coloured glass at all.

And then something unexpectedly reminds you, and it’s as keen as being cut. For a day or two, you realise that your experience of life is knocked out of kilter by this thing. You remember the world before. You can feel it: the angles in you that differ from other people’s angles. The different wind that blows through you, constantly. When you lie down, all the wrong bones dig in. When you sleep, all the doors you press firmly shut while you’re awake spring open and a great flock of sorrows burst out. You wake up with them stuck in your hair, bruised by them, carrying their incredible weight, and when you wake, you flap your way along the waterline like an oiled bird, no good for air, no good for the sea. Lost, at home.

Then you remember the skills you have learnt over the last few years, and you stand back up and pop the bones back where they should be – ish – and look up at the sky, and let your vision go back to what’s normal, now.

And it’s ok again. Sort of.

I miss you.

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About chiller

Rachel Coldbreath spent 20 years working internationally as a technical specialist on large data collections for law firms, before becoming disabled. She blogs on a variety of topics from the news and politics to gardening and how very annoying it is, being disabled. Habits include drilling holes about 1mm away from where they ought to be, and embarking with great enthusiasm on tasks for which she is neither physically nor intellectually equipped.
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14 Responses to A flock of sorrows.

  1. dakegra says:

    You write so beautifully

  2. Lisa says:

    This is beautiful to me, and painful too, both at once. I miss somebody so keenly that some days it defines every thought, and then I can go for weeks again without even remembering them. Once it was only a day, then it was a few days, now it’s weeks. But some nights, as you say, that flock of sorrows takes over.
    Here’s to having normal vision for a goodly while…

    • chiller says:

      It just always comes back, sooner or later, I think. This idea that we get over things is daft. We get used to things. x

  3. Lisa says:

    I don’t think we every fully ‘get over’ things, but we do, as you say, get used to the readjusted world. It’s a bit like when you get rid of an old piece of furniture. You get used to the new space, the new routes around things until the one day when, out of a long forgotten habit, you go to put something down on it, and it isn’t there.

  4. mumtoteens says:

    Your writing is beautiful, you have a really special turn of phrase. Like so many people I have a ‘thing’ that changed me. A thing that separates my life into before that thing and after. And yes, some days I wake up with the flock of sorrows having ravished me (and not in the nice way) as I slept. I have floundered, searching for the me before the thing but recently I’ve come to realise that I am now the me after the thing and that me is wiser, more empathetic and considerably more understanding. I’m beginning to like the me after the thing.
    Thank you for this post it touched the me after the thing.

  5. BoooValentine says:

    A mutual twitter follower RTd this and I had to read the whole piece and leave a comment. It is beautifully written and rings so true. No matter if it relates to someone or events, the general feeling is the same. We just get used to things that have happened. Thank you for writing this.
    All the best. :)

  6. Fles says:

    Beautiful, again; you have tamed raw emotion without blunting its jagged edge and you have set it upon a page. Thanks.

  7. I have read very few things that manage to give grief a real voice (and there was a time when I searched for them hard). This does so with a familiarity that both aches and soothes. Wow.

  8. njbdartford says:

    Hi. Like the other commenters I was touched, in the proper original sense, by this. Maybe it’s that same piece of coloured glass that enables you to write in a way that resonates with others, and connects with similar, but not the same, experience. Maybe the gift that comes along with the loss. Thank you!

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