9) The emotional ‘wobbles’

There’s an element of ‘heat of the moment’ about this particular blog, given how I’m feeling as I write it, but maybe it’s the best time to do so.

The ‘wobbles’ is a term I’ve become more familiar with since being widowed – it’s used by the grieving fraternity to describe those moments where emotionally things get the better of you and you have an undefined period of time struggling on various levels to cope with what’s happening. All very natural, but not all that pleasant.

I’ve had a few of them, it goes without saying. Usually they don’t last that long and they tend to happen when I’m on my own. I just sort myself out, imagine Nicola telling me to pull myself together and get on with doing something else. Sometimes they last a bit longer and hit me like a steam train. You could apply the latter description to my last 24 hours.

I was actually writing a different blog post last night, which I’ll now put up another time. In the process of doing so I was seeking some photos to attach to it, and found myself watching a video I’d taken while Nicola and I were on a city break in Budapest four years ago.

It was a pretty innocuous sightseeing-type video – we were passengers on a hillside tram ascending above the city and I was filming the view, as you do.

But it was the last three seconds of the minute-long video that knocked me for six. I’d panned the camera round to where Nicola was sat and initially she wasn’t looking at it. Then she turned, saw me filming her, and sprouted into one her cheerful smiles and waved at the camera, saying ‘hi!’. Then the video stops, freeze-framed on this beautiful, bubbly, smiling lady in a pose I so often saw her in and looking straight at me.

It broke me.

I’ve viewed lots of videos and photos featuring Nicola in recent weeks and whilst they’re sad in the sense that we’re looking back at a time when she was alive and we long for her to be still with us, they’re also a comfort because they’re just a brief reminder of her personality, what she sounds like, and so on.

But for some reason this just felt different. I think the fact I wasn’t expecting it played a part – I can’t remember why I watched that particular video, nor why I watched it to the end given it wasn’t all that interesting, but those final few seconds were enough to unload a torrent of emotion that in the ten weeks since Nicola died I’ve not quite matched, albeit I’ve come close.

It just felt like she was suddenly there with me. There she was, on a laptop screen right in front of me, looking directly ‘at me’, waving and smiling. It was as if I’d just walked in a room and she was greeting me.

The slightly slowed down part of the video (without sound) that I’m referring to.  As you can tell, it doesn’t take a lot at times like this!

People say it’s ‘the little things’ that can trigger these wobbles and it’s very true. Maybe more will follow at times when I’m least expecting it. This seemed different to any of the grief I’ve been dealing with up to now, though, and perhaps emphasised just how many forms and extremes it can take.

With Grace having gone to my in-laws’ for a couple of days, I’m at home on my own. That’s not a bad thing – I’m usually fine in my own company even in this state of grief – but I think the fact I had nobody here meant the whole thing hit me that bit harder as I wasn’t afraid to ‘let it all out’.

I’m not even ashamed to be telling all and sundry about it – I know for a fact that lots of people read this blog who either are or have been in similar situations so can probably relate to it.

This sums things up quite well, I thought. No idea who said it but I couldn’t think of another pic to use…

It meant I had a pretty rough night, and the hope that I’d be OK by the morning was dashed pretty quickly after I woke up when the whole thing played through my head again. I was exhausted. I work from home, but my head simply wasn’t right to apply myself to that particular task. Thankfully, I’m blessed with work colleagues who have been very understanding throughout the last two years and taken on my workload when I’ve been unable to do it for any of the numerous reasons that have prevented me, and this was another example.

It’s the sheer power with which it’s hit me that has surprised me. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve had ‘wobbles’ before and they’ve affected me to varying degrees, but this one has hit me the hardest yet. I know it’s natural and part of the grieving process, but flippin’ eck…

Anyway, grieving is all it is. I don’t feel like I’m spiralling into any kind of depression or anything like that, nor do I anticipate that happening, but I guess on a temporary basis that’s the kind of thing it is. It’s crap, no doubt about it, but as I’ve mentioned already, it’s all part of the process for anyone going through this kind of experience. I don’t want it to look like I’m attention-seeking in any way – it just helps me to write about it.

To some extent, it’s as if the initial release I felt from the considerable shackles of Nicola’s illness, which perhaps overshadowed the actual grief felt from losing her, is now wearing off and the raw emotion is coming through again. The numbness I felt in the initial aftermath is now ebbing away. It’s almost like a delayed reaction.

I’ll be OK, and will distract myself with things that will hopefully cheer me up let alone catch up on the sleep I’ve lost, and whilst I know that these kinds of things are bound to happen from time to time, I’ll probably get better at coping with them.

There remains, however, one final, inescapable feeling that might never change.

It’s that no matter how well I may deal with things on the whole, no matter what great support I have around me, no matter how amazing Grace is at instantaneously improving my mood and no matter how true it might be that time will eventually be a healer, the fact remains that the only person I truly want here to help me through these times, that I truly want here to coach me, hug me, reassure me, to ‘smile me better’, and that I truly want here who could possibly help me through a wobble so profoundly induced by missing Nicola……..is Nicola.


5 thoughts on “9) The emotional ‘wobbles’”

  1. Another good piece Mark and was very hard to read for me but must have been a lot harder for you to put it down on paper. With lots of love Sue.xxxxx


  2. I just wanted to send you a virtual hug Mark.

    It is the pits – there’s no way of escaping it but by doing what you’re doing I truly belief it can be for the good.

    Tonight I have cried my heart out for my Dad who passed almost 18 years ago – and then I read that above about grief being all the love that you cannot give and it just summed it all up brilliantly.

    Love and support to you. Be kind to yourself. Xx


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