Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

My heart goes out to grieving Mitch

Mitch and daughter Amy Winehouse

I've not been his biggest fan over the years, but it pulled at my heart strings to hear Amy Winehouse's dad Mitch talking about how he had finally managed to replace the image he had of his daughter's lifeless body with one of her laughing.

The family are selling Amy's old house in North London because they can't bear to go inside it, and hearing Mitch struggle to explain why finding a drawer full of boiled sweets in there was the 'worst thing' about dealing with the debris of death struck a chord.

Death in itself, especially when it comes to someone you profoundly love, is too overwhelming to understand when it first happens; it takes small, personal details to shock you into any degree of comprehension.

But what really brought home exactly where Mitch is in the grieving process was his admission that he still texts his daughter 'asking her to come home.'

Writer Joan Didion wrote a brilliant book called The Year of Magical Thinking, about that insane, muddled, surreal period after a death when your brain hasn't quite accepted the finality of what's happened, and allows you to imagine, even believe, that your loved one is coming back some day.

You still see them, walking past in the street or jumping onto a bus. You can talk to them.

I can't imagine how it feels to lose a child, but I hope Mitch's magical thinking helps him as long as he needs it.

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