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The grief of every day

This is the one photo I’ve shared widely of my mom – in articles and magazines. It was taken at The Cure concert (live in Cape Town!) in March 2019, 3 and a bit months before she died, and we had *so much fun*.

Yesterday marked 15 years since my husband and I first kissed, and of course it made me think back to 15 years ago, and who I was then… 24, living at home in Durban, writing the first draft of Strange Nervous Laughter, didn’t have diabetes yet, did have a mom.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and it was really dark, thanks to load shedding. My thoughts went immediately to my mom – as they do, even now, when I wake up in the middle of the night. And I realized that while I still miss her pretty much every day, and long to have her back, while I would so love to share the minutiae of my every day with her, the sting has been taken out of the missing. I can co-exist with it.

In the early days of grief, I missed my mom so fiercely I felt like I wanted to vomit. Waves of grief would literally make it hard to breathe. Everything felt hard. I remember that feeling so viscerally, but two years later it has gone.

And now? Now I carry my grief around every day, all day, but it is far less obtrusive. It’s simply part of my everyday life… as natural to me as combing my hair, or putting on shoes. Of course I miss my mom – how could I not?

All of this is just to say that if you’re in the early days – and there’s no timeline for how long those early days might last – I see you. I know how all-consuming it is. One day it will feel lighter…

Published inGrief


  1. Marianne Kunzmann Marianne Kunzmann

    Hello Bridget. I just finished reading your book The Grief Handbook. My mother passed less than 4 months ago. I have always lived at home with my mother. I am 56 and my mother lived to be 85. She was in and out of the hospital the last 5 years of her life. She suffered greatly but hardly complained. I lost part of my heart when she passed. Thank you for writing with such brutal honesty.

    • Ah Marianne, what a loss… I am so sorry. I know exactly what you mean when you say you lost part of your heart… Sending you so much love and strength for the weeks ahead. Thank you so much for your kind words xxx

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