How I, Cecily, got over grief
I was honoured to be asked by Rachel Pieh Jones of Djibouti Jones to write for her TCK series. As readers of this blog may know, I recently posted a series of pieces about grief and how to get over it, and I was challenged by Rachel's more personal question: "So, how did you get over yours?"
Here's the beginning of the post. Warning, it is long. But so is life...
Seven stages of grief
When I was 16, if you’d called me ‘an Australian’ I would have felt like you were stabbing me with a blunt knife. My reaction would have been almost physical. And then I would have corrected you. And swiftly.
“I have an Australian passport. I don’t feel Australian.”
Because, you see, I am a TCK.
My family went to Pakistan when I was three and returned as a family when I was 16. In Pakistan we lived alternately in a crowded third world city, in the Himalayan mountains, and in the arid desert, extreme landscapes, all of them, with colourful people.
In Australia we moved into a medium-sized, comfortable house in a medium-sized, comfortable country town. I found the landscape boring. Even ugly. The green-grey of eucalyptus trees seemed insipid next to alpine forests. Middle class Australians seemed dull with their barbecues, salad and cheesecakes and their languid accents.
I didn’t like Australia.
More than that, I felt pain about what I’d left behind when I got on that plane to fly away from Pakistan. It was intense pain. A physical rip in my chest where a piece of my heart had been pulled away and left to bleed. A hurt that was palpable.
I’m 40 now.
And something has happened that, then, I never thought would occur.
The pain has healed. Truly.
If you called me ‘an Australian’ today, 24 years later, I wouldn’t feel a thing. No knives, no physical lurching. And I wouldn’t feel any need to correct you.
Because you, see, I am. I am Australian, as well as being a TCK.
How did it happen?