My birthday is on September the 24th, just before Alice’s which is October 5th. Alice and I were boyfriend and girlfriend and in 2015 for our 23rd birthday’s, we were planning to do a double celebration. We spent hours passing around ideas, crafting the perfect day to ultimately settle on a climbing trip to Scotland.
To say I was at the time excited about this would be an understatement. My birthday was often a difficult time of year for me and I seldom celebrated it however Alice gave me a reason to. She gave me something to hope for and something to be excited about. Alice knew me better than anyone, she could (unfortunately for me) read me like a book and would always know how to make me smile.
When Alice died just two months before our planned trip to Scotland at twenty-two years old, it was as though a part of me had been taken away. The world had robbed me and Alice of a future together and the plans that we had together would forever stay as plans, hope and ambitions; forever unrealised.
As you can imagine, my birthday is once again a very difficult time of year. Sometimes people can be confused as to why I don’t really celebrate it or make much of a fuss about it. Sometimes people wonder why this time of year more than any I am slightly withdrawn. Some may even feel that my disposition is disturbed in such a manner that a psychological intervention is required to precipitate a shift in my cognitions that enable a moving on process.
The death of Alice is something I will never be able to move on from. There is no counselling, meditation, mindfulness or healing that will console me or allow me to grow past the loss that is in my heart. Some wounds cannot be healed, and even though I may learn to love again, I may learn to live my life again, it will be a different love and a different life for I shall never be even close to the same person I was before Alice died and ultimately I am a very different person to the individual I was all those years ago.
A major part of learning to live my life is sharing my experiences of Alice and holding onto the positive memories. The laughs, the jokes and the adventures, because even though the memories will never even hold a candle to Alice’s light and life, they give me a strength and resolution to carry on.
When you tell me to move on, you are telling me to move on from someone who is an integral part of the person I am today. You are asking me to leave behind the memories of Alice’s light and life which are some of the only things that keep me going.
This also goes for telling me to go to counselling or therapy because I see this as telling me to move on by proxy. Counselling and therapy are incredibly important, particularly for managing complex emotions and feelings and providing a psychological stability through which an individual can go on to live their life as best they can.
There is however no therapy for a broken heart, no counselling that will bring Alice back and allow me to see her once again. The loss of Alice is not a problem I need fixing, but a part of me that I have learnt to live with as best I can. I will sometimes have dark days, I will sometimes hide away and cry, I will sometimes withdraw and sometimes be unable to sleep however I believe these are perfectly normal responses to losing someone you love.
This doesn’t mean counselling and therapy are not helpful to people experiencing loss and grief, indeed for some people they allow and empower them to learn to live their life again as well as provide a platform for expression. Expressing what I am feeling is incredibly important to me and is part of the reason why I write about how the loss of Alice makes me feel.
Life continues, and I am continuing to learn how to live again, I have been fortunate to have had some amazing people to help me on the way. People who have just given me a hug no matter how much I protest. People who have told me to slow down when I have been taking on too much work and people who have told me to get my ass in gear when I have not been doing enough. People who have helped me hold onto and keep alive the positive memories and experiences I had with Alice. People who have shown me kindness, love and care in my darkest moments.