My Musings

The Lioness

Well-adjusted (adjective, of a person): Mentally and emotionally stable

My grief sits so close to the surface, still so close to every other emotion. It may always feel raw.

Yesterday I was humming and bopping along to some music, and I thought “I’m doing it! I’m being normal and happy again! I’m going to list this as my joy for the day!”, but then having realised that, I immediately felt sad and got choked up, knowing that it’s not yet the same as it once was pre – or with – Summer. I stopped dancing.

The truth is, the grief is never really very far away. If the change in emotion wasn’t so scarily extreme, it could almost be deemed impressive. It manifests in a number of ways, but most commonly for me: deep sadness and all-out rage.

Both the ferocity and suddenness of the emotional onslaught often leaves me feeling unanchored. I said to my counsellor: I just don’t think I’m a particularly well-adjusted adult! It’s this emotional change that makes me feel unhinged, it’s the frequency of these feelings that make me feel I’ve lost, not just my identity, but my mind.

But, I was chatting to a friend about this recently and a new analogy came to me, one that sort of makes sense. So I thought I’d blog in order to explore it further, because I’ve started to feel proud of the attacks of emotion, because I think I’ve finally identified what it is:

It’s my mother’s love.

I’ve blogged twice, here and here, about how I see myself now:

  • I’m not a mum
  • I’m a caretaker, a curator of the memories

But here’s something new:

  • I’m also a lioness

I’m emotionally quick to respond, because something is being triggered, some carnal instinct about Summer. It’s sort of like a lioness defending her cub. And believe me, no one is allowed to slight my little lion cub!

When people fail to acknowledge Summer, I feel angry, outraged. The claws come out. I don’t mind so much people treating ME badly, but when they ignore Summer, those emotions are something else. You know how some parents get really precious about their children? Well, this is me, getting really precious about mine.

“When a child is born, it is the mother’s instinct to protect the baby.
When a child dies, it is the mother’s instinct to protect the memory”

Source: unknown

And when we get a pregnancy announcement or see a baby bump, my little cub starts purring. My heart breaks a little and my eyes get full. These aren’t irrational responses, it’s the natural way to respond: it’s the circle of life.

The lioness analogy helps me to feel a lot prouder – and a lot less crazy – about what’s going on here. I don’t know why, but it helps me to picture it like this. I’ve always described myself as a fierce friend, a passionate person, so it’s no wonder that something like this resonates.

Rather than labelling grief as emotional volatility, anger or sadness, I’m picturing it now as a little cub, sitting just behind me. This cub needs defending and is worthy of all the love, sadness or whatever you want to throw at it. Instead of letting the emotions define me as weak, I feel strong, in awe of the response.

So yep, I am a lioness. My cub sits with me, she is never far away.

It may be raw, so hear me roar: Summer is part of my pride.

If you would like to receive email notifications of new blogs from this website, please sign-up here:


(4) Comments

  1. Claudia says:

    I absolutely LOVE this!

  2. Claire says:

    I really love this analogy. It really sums things up beautifully. Plus it demonstrates your incredible strength through all of this. Cx

  3. I was raped when I was fifteen. I’m seventeen now. I got pregnant despite taking the plan B pill. I had no idea about it until three months down the track when I had a miscarriage. It was then that my questions were answered- this was certainly a real child. At three to four months old I could make out little legs and arms. It had just fallen out of me, covered in blood. It was the most heartbreaking thing to see but at the same time, I was in awe. I couldn’t believe that someone so perfect had been inside of me, even if just for a few months. I was able to separate the circumstances of that baby’s creation from itself and I’m so glad about that. After all, that baby was the most innocent part of anything that had happened. That loss hit me so hard. I noticed the absence of those ever so tiny flutters I’d get in the stomach sometimes. It was painful, excruciatingly so. Both physically and mentally, it was the heaviest burden I’d had to carry. Some months later, I had a dream that the baby was a boy. I wanted to find a way to honour his life and move through that loss, so I asked my boyfriend if he’d help me name the baby. We came up with Mateo, meaning gift from God. He truly was. My partner was so understanding and honestly just the kindest guy I know. I wouldn’t have expected him to be as calm as he was but he just took everything in stride. He still refers to that baby, almost a year and a half later, as his son. He’ll time me here and there that he thinks of Mateo and wishes that he could be here with us. I wanted the both of us to name him because in any normal circumstance, that would be a bonding exercise for couples. I felt we needed that. My circumstance is somewhat unique in that I am more likely to have someone tell me they are happy for my loss rather than sorry for it. Many a time.

    1. Anjulie says:

      Maryam, thank you for sharing your heartbreaking experiences and thoughts about Mateo. That was so brave and honest of you. Your love for Mateo shines through and I know what you mean about being in total awe – I am so sorry he’s not here. I hope that you are being gentle with yourself and have all the support you need to process all that has happened. Your boyfriend sounds incredible, as do you xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *