I’d like to share with you a 5 minute talk that I was asked to present recently:
(How Interior Design Helped Me Swim Away From The Grief Shark)
It’s was useful for me to write and speak about my personal journey, and the important steps, of how the loss of a loved one can also be positive. It can take you in a new direction, giving you the energy and courage to change your goals and personal aspirations.
Is closure the end or a new beginning?
I’d like to share with you my personal story that begins the day my father phoned. He said, “I’ve got cancer, it’s inoperable and I haven’t got long to live.” I was in absolute shock, my stomach was convulsing and I was finding it difficult to breathe. My heart was about to break.
Clothes started to fly around the bedroom as I packed my case in haste. With cases packed, hubby and daughter in the car, we start driving along the motorway. But, instead of driving to see my father, we’re heading straight to hospital.
I was 8 months pregnant and I’d gone into labour. My baby decided that now was a great time to be born. I felt as if I was bobbing about on the ocean, lost and out of control with no means of getting home. I didn’t know which was worse, the sea of pain in my belly or the tidal wave of agony in my heart. I remember thinking:
What if I never see my father alive again?
What if I never feel his warm embrace?
What if I never hear him tell me he loves me? Just one more time, just one last time.
My thoughts were with my father as every second might be a second too late. Fear and dread kick in, and I have never pushed so hard in all my life. My baby shot out like a missile on a mission. With great relief I was eventually discharged from hospital and we set off to see my father. The car journey was incredibly painful both physically and emotionally but now that was all forgotten as I’m outside the family home. Just in time.
My fondest memory of those last few hours is my father holding my son for the first and last time – my father William at the end of his life and my son William at the beginning of his.
They say that time heals, but does time give you closure?
It’s certainly the hope that things will improve over the passage of time, so you won’t be left feeling so helpless and abandoned, but I don’t think you find closure with time because my heart aches just as much today as it did when it all happened.
Over the years, my closure has become a journey of discovery as I’ve learnt to channel my sadness and grief into creativity. I gave up my job and walked away from a career that I’d worked tirelessly to create. It was such a scary decision. I didn’t just rock the boat… I smashed it, like jumping into an ocean without a lifebelt and not knowing which direction to swim for safety.
In my quest to find something creative, I discovered interior design and over the years I’ve become a professional designer with my own practice. Interior design has given me new skills which are the lifebelt as I swim in the ocean but what am I swimming towards? Where is the land of safety, as I try to find closure, swimming away from the grief shark?
The land I’ve been searching has become clearer over the last few years as I’ve been able to map out my direction, putting into context my father’s death and the person that I’ve become.
Reflecting on that moment of my father holding my son for that brief and fleeting moment, I’ve come to realise the importance of memories, Memories to Cherish. They’re so very important to me because they’re all that I have now that my father has gone. The memories of his smile and our special times together are filled with your love and affection.
Through interior design I’ve been able to find closure with memories to cherish. As I design each room, I’m honouring my father, feeling blessed to create a space that not only feels amazing but also helps to fill others with the most wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.
For me personally, closure is not the end… it’s actually a new and exciting beginning.