Tears of laughter and tears of grief have run down my face in the last week. Tidal waves of tears when I least expect it. Both the sad and the happy waves.

I am tired though. I can feel the sadness deep in my left shoulder which is where my sadness sits. I am tired of the wave knocking me over before I felt it coming. A lovely few moments or hours or even day subsumed by the grief welling up from within and either spilling out or holding me captive from within.

A song here or a passing comment there can lead to hours of heartache. And yet, the beautiful moon, a sunset or rainbow, all can bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. The photo is of our dog who make me laugh when he lay looking at me like this, for a couple of hours earlier in the week.

I know that to truly experience joy, I need to intimately know sadness. It feels good to laugh or dance, to share a meal with friends or be held in a tight hug. It feels less good to have those silent tears wrack a silently spasming body as each tidal wave of grief rolls up and out.

I mostly cry silently, a relic of ‘silence after lights out’ requirements of an otherwise humane boarding school. I am not sure if this makes it easier or harder. When the tears are from laughing, the laughter is loud and a release. The silent sadness doesn’t ease the shoulder pain which tugs incessantly, leaving me be only when I am distracted enough not to notice.

I can wake up from a beautiful sleep with hands clenched tight and that shoulder aching loudly. I do not know how to address that. I am trying to be present, mindfully accepting how I feel in any given moment. Knowing that everything changes.

Knowing life can be short, I am trying to live more moments. Do more things just because, ‘why not?’ But still that shoulder nags at me gently or screams at me loudly.

I have the kindest friends. The most caring friends. And as I type this, I know, I know why my shoulder is screaming and my heart is silently weeping.

Tonight I am having dinner with friends. And maybe getting Jane’s full autopsy report. Why this should upset me so much when the coroner already gave me the short version, which roughly translated to lay person language was heart condition that when not known about and treated can and does and did lead to sudden cardiac death, I cannot fathom. Why will the details hurt any more than the outline. Both are simply – she is dead and gone and this paper cannot change that, ever, no matter what.

I see others stressed, hearts aching for loved ones they have not seen now for over a year because of covid. I watch their joy when they video chat and a part of me takes pleasure in their joy and another part cries for the truth that I will never have that again. So many years of separation or work, in areas with rubbish internet, where we would chat on the phone for hours each day. That too is gone.

I do not begrudge others their waves of joy. I can see their grief too and I know that on some level separation between the living hurts more than that from the dead. And I am counting down the days until I see our son. Until I can hug him and walk along a freezing beach with him, wind in our hair blowing our sadness and joy across the landscape until we are free again, to just be.

Wherever you are, walk alongside those who may need you, even if they are just passing acquaintances. You may be the person who helps them get through that day or night. Thank you to all those who continue to walk alongside me. It as much appreciated as ever. Arohanui Jane. Miss you.