SHC Life in Lockdown Series, #6:
Grieving During Lockdown
By Surbiton HC
A few weeks into lockdown SHC Ladies 3s player Annie Tutty published a powerful and emotional blog about her personal experience of grief.
“It’s been about a month since I posted my blog, ‘Grieving in lockdown’, and the response I have received has been utterly overwhelming! I didn’t expect so many to read it, let a lone to reach out. I’ve had many messages of support along with many reaching out sharing their similar experiences and how my story had resonated with them; which was amazing and emotional to read.
I am still working on my journey of grief, however this all has helped me to be more open and honest about how painful grief can be. If anyone else is on a similar journey, take a read if you feel up to it and remember you’re not alone!”
Annie’s blog ‘Grieving in Lockdown’ is featured in full below:
I have bungee jumped, skydived, and done my fair share of traveling around the world. However, this is the most terrifying thing I have done. If this post helps just one person experiencing something similar, it will be worth it.
What did you achieve during the Coronavirus lockdown? This will be a question many will be asked for months or even years to come.
I have already heard many say, “I’ve got into exercise, and baking, and painting and redoing the house”. An answer I am yet to hear is, “I managed to grieve during lockdown.” Whilst I have taken on baking challenges, HIIT classes, and online learning; I hope my biggest achievement will be facing up to and overcoming my grief.
8 years ago, my Dad died due to an alcohol addiction that took his life. Up until about 4 months ago, I struggled to say the words ‘my Dad died’, especially to friends. Instead, I would make reference to it as the past, or speak of it as “when it all went down those years ago”, and sometimes even now I still use these phrases. In the past, the times I did say the words: “when my dad died” it sent me into total discomfort and that was enough to put it back in the box for a while. Everyone who goes through losing someone will have their own experiences, however, I felt there was no time to deal with the loss of my dad in the past, especially as I wanted to keep up with my friends and peers. I was 16 when he passed and all I wanted to do was go to the parties that my friends were going to, get my A levels, go to University, and so on. I didn’t want to fall behind and miss out on all these things my friends were experiencing. And whilst, I probably wasn’t ready to talk about my loss, this was a very big distraction from it, and it became the norm.
I started therapy just before lockdown, and sometimes I have to laugh and say to myself just my luck, it’s taken me 8 years to face this and I’ve decided to tackle this in lockdown during a global pandemic. Most of the time I don’t see the funny side, however, this is how it has panned out. If someone had told me 4 months ago, you will be dealing with your grief properly for the first time during a global pandemic, where life is on hold and we are locked in, I would probably tell that person to p**s off. But here we are.
So now I have all the time in the world, nothing to be missing out on, however, I am still terrified and trying to find reasons not to face it. Anyone that has gone through losing a loved one will know you need the support of friends\family and you also need distractions to compartmentalize things. Being in lockdown means you have neither. I have had to take on therapy over zoom in my bedroom, and with no exciting plans to make me feel better after tackling a really tough session, it has been very easy to get back into bed and wait for the day to end. From tears to confusion, to anger, to panic attacks, to sleepless nights and hazy days, it has been overwhelming and overpowering at times. However, as I write this at the end of the 8th week in lockdown (albeit at 2 am- haven’t quite mastered the sleepless nights), I know I have made progress. It might be small, but it is progress.
This lockdown will force many to undergo emotional and mental battles, and I am lucky that from afar I have a good support network. Please make sure you are there for those who are struggling, or even those whom you think are fine. A message saying, ‘How are you, would you like to catch up?’ goes a long way to someone who is struggling. Don’t let the fear of not wanting to upset them get in the way of asking, and don’t be afraid to ask again. Don’t be afraid to ask someone who appears fine, how they are and don’t be afraid to ask again. And for anyone who is struggling, reach out if you can, to friends/ family/ loved ones – believe me you will find happiness and trust in this. Finally, if anyone is reading this and battling through the same pain and journey of grief, you are not alone!
For now, my journey continues, and I’m hopeful when lockdown comes to an end and life begins to return to normality; when someone asks me: “What did you achieve in lockdown?” I will be able to say confidently and with no shame, I grieved during lockdown, I conquered it and I am proud of it!
After publishing her blog, Annie also spoke to some local media outlets. Read more here:
- Get Surrey article, Friday 22nd May - https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/claygate-surrey-lockdown-grief-dad-18289005
- Radio Jackie feature, Saturday 23rd May - http://news.radiojackie.com/2020/05/a-young-woman-who-lost-her-father-8.html