Peaches Geldof – ‘How is that bearable’?

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So many people are expressing shock and sadness at the sudden passing of Peaches Geldof – wife, mother of two, and the 25 year old daughter of Bob Geldof.

In a statement issued on the day she died, her father said: “She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us. “Writing ‘was’ destroys me afresh. What a beautiful child. How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable?”

How indeed could such a thing be bearable? It can’t be, can it? Such a senseless ending of a young life. At this point the cause of death is still undetermined, but regardless of that, I still remember hearing the news that this beautiful girl’s own mother died aged 41, leaving 4 daughters behind her. For me it makes this tragedy even more cutting and deep…

I can’t assuage the grief of those who knew and loved Peaches and I can only start on the journey of trying to reconcile what’s happened and what will happen from here; and with humility I can only really do that for myself – if these ‘workings through’ touch someone else, then that will be one tiny blessing to come from this horrible happening…

Her loved ones will go through shock, grief and pain – nothing can take away that loss or lessen that impact. I can’t comment on how any one will cope, yet these are the normal and necessary stages that have to be traveled through. It is tough to accept that sometimes we just have to go through the pain – we are so predicated to be medicated with alcohol, pain killers, anti-depressants and the like – in order to avoid life’s trials and troughs in any way we can.

But we can’t avoid them and have to allow ourselves pain and grief at times like this; for if we seek to dull them or distract ourselves, that resistance can be just as painful as what caused them. So, am I saying leave off the ‘medicants’ then? Well if they help in small measure, in the moment, then no of course not – I have used them all, god knows, at one time or another, but the thing is not to let them become the long term alternative to the pain, which will be buried somewhere, and has to work its way out, somehow – otherwise it eats away at our emotional core and can sit latent for decades until it is released or unleashed.

So what other support is available? Families and friends can be your greatest allies or foes at times like these. I have seen families draw together after such tragedies and others, torn apart. Those who grow together tend to keep it loving and mutually supportive. They simply and consciously watch out for each other. Others I have witnessed using their hurt (often unintentionally) as a weapon – they feel justified in throwing their emotional weight around, bringing up past hurts and even throwing around physical and verbal violence. So it is that often the consequences of such interactions are estrangement and divorce. So – know this, if nothing else, and seek ways where you can grow together, rather than apart.

I believe we can only live in the moment – so keep it simple, focus on what you need to do to cope, and do the things that will get you through from moment to moment, just one step at time. And where ever you are, if you can focus on doing the same for those around you, this can only support you too…

Of course coaching and counseling and other professional support can be completely invaluable at times like these. You will generally find that in the human experience, someone else has gone through such life happenings before, and there will be experts out there that can guide you through healing and coping strategies. I appreciate that not everyone wants such interventions though, yet I would always advise getting ‘educated’ about your situation. Do your research – read books, go online, seek out others who have been down the same path, too. Understand the stages to be traveled and what the learnings may be along the way. There will be a common recognition and understanding, and knowing that too, is so often, a support, to so many…

At such times in my own life, my own emotional issue is, that the lower I am, the less I want to reach out and ask for help. Recognise this about yourself and others you support, if this is true for you too. Be honest with those around you about where you are emotionally and what support you want / need, and if you are unable to articulate that, then simply tell it like it is. If they are unable to provide what you need, then you should look further, maybe for professional support. Reach out…

The thing that all bereaved people have to face, is the funeral. I remember saying when my father died, that a funeral was the last thing I needed! I faced the day though and realised that these occasions are necessary for so many reasons – to allow us to psychologically start to say good bye, and most of all to celebrate that person who was part of our life.

A funeral is the chance to celebrate their existence, celebrate their legacy, celebrate their impact on the world and upon you. Yes, of course you are allowed to weep and grieve, but always keep celebration at the centre of this ceremony. This is vital, it is the starting point for your relationship with that person from now on – that person who will be carried now in your head and heart. How can you best honour them and keep their memory a positive one? Be open and unafraid to speak of them – that may scare some people or bring up their stuff, but allow yourself here, – gently hold your ground and show the way…

Yes, you are allowed your loss too, of course. On the day of my mother’s funeral I said a very loud prayer to God that I wanted to hold it together please for my oratory speech, and if that happened, then I wouldn’t mind being a gibbering emotional wreck for the rest of the day. I wasn’t though, that day was, for me, so special, one most definitely with celebration at its heart, filled with love and recollection and of course some sorrow too.

My mother though was old, she’d ‘had her time’; but then the length of someone’s life should not take away the fact that we should celebrate what that soul has been to us – regardless of how long they have been on this earth. And despite my mother’s age, I still would have liked her to be around at my next birthday or to have seen my first book published… Yet in my mind, she contributed to these things and so many more, in the ways she influenced me, and is somehow always with me – in my DNA, in my thoughts, in our past interactions and in so many innumerable ways…

And then our lives go on… Shaped by loss and pain… Our existence altered and impacted by that which is beyond us. Can we really choose that we move on in a positive way, from such a shattering, negative happening? When it comes to matters of emotion, it is my own experience that I can certainly cast myself as a victim in the story of my life. Yes, I have played that role so many times and to be honest, will often tip into that mode still… Yet I know that if I choose – be it consciously – whether through tears, or gritted teeth or simply state my intention – that I am going to move forward with this, then move I will. If I decide to learn from it, and honour that person in the best way I can, then setting my intention may just be enough, for this moment. Then I will state it again and then I will choose to get the strength and support, however slowly, to get me through the next moments, then hours, and then what ever will be…

Will a happening such as this change lives and hearts for ever? Yes. Is it awful, sad and shocking? Yes. Is it painful beyond reason and unfair? Yes. Will you ever get over it? I don’t know…

Yet we can, on some level choose our legacy from life’s happenings and if you allow yourself to believe that, then this is the first, small step forward, and from there you can take another slow step, and then another and so it is that you are moving forward…

 

~ By Sandra Peachey. With love and trust.

Dedicated to all of those who have loved and lost, and somehow, loved and gained.

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