The scale of purple monkeys & grief

I’m writing this blog, in part, for my own therapy and personal healing.  I’m also writing this to share because I know what I have to say will help those of you that may be battling in your lives with grief.  It is my hope that these blogs will help you gain some strength from my struggles.


purple-monkeysI created this scale to indicate and measure what kind of day I’m having.  It’s called the “Purple Monkey Scale” unintentionally the acronym is PMS.  I gotta say this last few weeks has exceeded the scale on some days. Originally the scale was measured like this:

1 – 5 purple monkey scale meant that overall the day was chalked up as a minor win.  There would be fond memories of the lost loved one which made the day manageable, I wrote a list and things were getting done – as a side note, if you’re dealing with grief and don’t make lists, let me just say they are one of the few things that helps me get through my days.

6 – 8 purple monkey scale starts to wander into Millionaire question time where you’ve been asked for what feels like the 4 millionth time how your loved one died like it’s the only question people know to ask and is also the worst question that people can ask, it’s like we have this morbid obsession on how people died, this obsession of death has to stop. Not a single person asked how he lived and as a result I started coming up with creative stories I would tell people (that he would entirely approve of – he had an amazing sense of humour that we shared) when I was asked this question which went something like this:

  • It was death by snu snu (see Futurama for pop culture reference).
  • He was cornered by nine cage fighting nuns, it was a terrible way to go.
  • Ninja’s.

Now I just turn to people and say I would rather talk about how he lived, because his birth and his death aren’t the defining moments of a human being, it’s the moments in the middle of those dates that define our humanity.

9 – 10 (this has since increased to pms level 12) purple monkey scale is essentially the days I want to crawl underneath my bed and hide from the rest of the world, it’s where I reach a point in my days where I am filled with resentment of being left on my own to deal with the aftermath of death while he’s floating about just having the time of his life in the afterlife.

It is a space where I feel the most alone and I have very few people in my world who understand or comprehend the agonising and heart wrenching pain of the knowledge that the man that I loved from the moment we met to the end of his human existence and beyond, is no longer here to breathe the same air, to eat the same food, to complain about my constant messiness, to stomp the dirt off his boots outside our front door, these are the days I struggle to breathe, I struggle to think, I just struggle, I don’t know how I get through these moments, I feel like I find this superhuman strength that I didn’t even know I had that holds me together just enough until this feeling passes, these days are so tough and then I remind myself to breathe.

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