Hello, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me.

Day 38. So I felt like I was pretty clued in to the whole grieving situation until my mum went home and then I realised that there was a whole new level below what I perceived as rock bottom. I was alone for a few hours and I went from trying to convince myself that it was okay to live in the apartment by myself to being a curled up hysterical mess literally rocking on the sofa repeating “get me out of this reality” over and over and over again. So being on your own when you’ve been through something this traumatising is really not the way to go because you haven’t got anyone to talk to about the seemingly mental thought processes you have. I made what is essentially a shrine to Jerry and I felt so proud and comforted by it and then suddenly it dawned on me the reality of what I had just created. A shrine to my dead boyfriend. I love this boy. He’s died. How awful that he’s died. I can’t believe he’s actually died. How do I cope with the scale of this reality? It’s like I always know he’s died but I realise it maybe ten or more times a day in different situations. So after this I was pacing around my apartment panicking about him dying like I’d only just truly realised that this was the situation. The overwhelming feeling when you’re in that spiral of grief is “I don’t want to do this get me out” and I can understand completely why people keep telling me not to give up or asking me if I’m having suicidal thoughts. Of course I have, who would not consider that routinely when they’re going through such intense mental pain? However what a waste of Jerry’s decision to save my life if I just give it up. Also there’s so many people filled with sadness all around me at the moment and I feel like my life is comforting to them and I’m a direct connection to Jerry for lots of people. So, plod on I must but I’ve had the most testing few days of this entire thing so far and that is saying something.

I started EMDR therapy and it was incredibly helpful. I learnt a lot about the brain’s reaction to trauma and this has helped me to understand certain aspects of how I feel that have been making me feel like I’ve gone insane. For example the bike plays over and over in my head literally 24 hours a day. It’s like a boomerang of us being out of control on the bike sits in the right hand corner of my eye all of the time. I can’t concentrate on what anyone is saying because I’m always anxious about the bike. This is an exhausting way to live. EMDR helps to connect the parts of your brain because after trauma you can’t process anything or really feel anything properly. I would say that you’re numb to everything except what happened regardless of any other things going on in the world. I’m not going to explain EMDR in depth at the moment but basically you follow a light with your eyes and you relive the specific trauma. Things came to me that I didn’t even know I remembered about the accident and it was very stressful but afterwards I felt more calm that I have at all. I haven’t seen the bike since. The anxiety has now been replaced by the most intensely deep sadness. I would describe it as a weight hanging off your heart so every step you take, getting out of bed, moving anywhere is absolutely exhausting. However the anxiety is gone for now. I’m going to go every week until I’ve been through all the traumatic incidents up to the present day, of which there are many.

I need to work on my nightmares too because they happen every night. This morning I woke up from one and turned to say to Jerry “you were such a twat to me in my dream” only to see an empty space and remember that he is dead, and then the nausea returns and the tears follow. I am certain that EMDR will help to stop these.

This week has also brought upon me the apparent existence of Jerry’s phone. I reported the phone as being stolen to the US embassy and now it’s apparently been there all along. I was speechless when I heard this for obvious reasons and I’m now waiting to get it back. I don’t have expectations that it will work but you never know.

My sister, Rob and Belle arrived in Penang for 2 weeks. Jerry and I spent time talking about this and planning it and so this is great but also horrendously sad because he’s missing. All of us are trying but sadness is a part of everyone’s lives now and we all know it isn’t the way it should be. So many people are saying “you look like you’re having a great time with your family”. Yes I love my family and Belle is my favourite person in the world. Yes it’s great they are here. Am I grateful? Eternally. Am I having a great time? Well no I’m not because I’m horrendously sad, a different person and live inside some kind of bubble that stops me from ever feeling positive emotions properly. I’m so appreciative of them and I’m doing my best every day but I’m very aware that I’m probably not fooling anyone. Having said that it has been so amazing to have them here, seeing Belle loving Penang life and talking to my sister and Rob about all this has been helpful. I’m trying really hard and someone said to me today I need to stop being so tough on myself because there’s no expectations for a person in a situation like this and I need to remember that.

Belle you’re an angel, especially now. When Belle says Auntie Lollen my heart fills with some kind of acute pain and love mixed together. The kid is keeping me going.

My grief song is Comfortably Numb and I have listened to this song 20 times on repeat at one point. I think the lyrics explain how I feel a lot of the time.

Hello? Hello? Hello?
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home?
Come on now
I hear you’re feeling down
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again
I’ll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I’ve got that feeling once again
I can’t explain you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb
Just a little pinprick
There’ll be no more, ah
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on it’s time to go
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

I think reading the lyrics really explains how I feel right now. And of course where would I be without art:

I would like to now write to my mum and explain how grateful I am for her spending 4 and a half weeks watching me experience all this pain. You are the most selfless, understanding, strong and wonderful person. You’ve been with me through every emotion, every hardship, sat for hours while I cry, forced me to eat, sorted my medication out, listened to my anger, seen all the heart break flood out and stayed strong through it all. People say how strong I am but my personality is all down to you and the way you’ve brought me up. Jerry saved my life but you’ve been saving it every day since and I’ll never be able to fully explain how much I’ve needed you. I honestly don’t think I’d still be here if you hadn’t have come to help me.

I know my mum loves Jerry too and has her own grieving to do, as she said when she was with us for 2 weeks “He’s exactly what you need” and she was right. It’s very hard now that he’s not here and we are all adapting.

Love to all the people who still check on me every single day 38 days later. It’s overwhelming to realise how loved I am. Thank you for the post all the way from the UK, it’s such a great moment every time I receive any.

In medical news turns out my jaw is fractured so I have to have a bone graft operation in the next couple of weeks. Hospital is the gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s Jerry to end this post, a true hero and mine forever.

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