‘We need something using the colour orange – it’s the branding this year for National Grief Awareness week. How about a chocolate orange?’

‘We need something using the colour orange – it’s the branding this year for National Grief Awareness Week. How about a chocolate orange?’. Thus was the challenge set by a colleague as we discussed possible blog topics. Whether I have risen to the challenge or just fallen off it completely is for readers to decide.

A chocolate orange having been purchased and photographed, I pondered. I rejected the different elements of grief, shock, anger, guilt etc as resembling the segments as being too obvious.

My experience of mourning for my parents has been that it began many years ago while they were still alive, particularly for the parenting characteristics and behaviours they would never display or have the capacity to learn. Grudging acceptance came through learning more about how they were brought up and the early years of their marriage, from a wise and still missed grandmother. Grieving for what one has never experienced, such as unconditional affirmation and comforting cuddles is a life-long process unrelated to the life or death of the individual. What dementia and death remove is any possibility of acknowledgment by the parent, expression of regret or an apology.

As when I unwrapped the ‘orange’, a few segments fell clear, so it has been for me. Memories and emotions surface from time to time and can be pondered on and reacted to as needed. What remains can be re-wrapped to come into the light another day.