As I was getting ready for a day of high school I remember my dads phone ringing. Every time my dads phone rang, my heart would always sink, I was anticipating the death of my mum. The conversation was very short, telling my dad that my mum had fallen over during the night & her tumour had burst so he needed to get us to the hospital ASAP.
I remember my dad ended the call and just sat quietly. I knew this was the day that I’d been preparing my vulnerable heart for. The day that all of the chemotherapy relapses and the end of life care quickly led us to.
Once being told she’d passed away, I held my breath for what seemed like forever. And after a couple of minutes, I felt a sudden feeling of relief. The overwhelming feeling of emptiness took over my whole body, but I still felt an ounce of relief that my poor mum was no longer in pain and that I will never have to anticipate her death again. The worst was over; I thought. But my Grieving journey had just started.
There’s definitely a stigma of “grieving” over the death of a loved one for a couple of months before achieving closure. Truth is, you never achieve that closure- and I used to get so angry at myself for not “feeling happy” but I still, six years on, feel the same way inside as I did the night she died.
It’s almost like you join the “dead parents club” when you lose a parent, as most people feel the same way. There is definitely times when I feel ok about things, and I tend to go for the mindset of “I can’t change anything that happened. It’s life” however, there are also times that I cry myself to sleep, or wake up & go to work with a stabbing pain in my heart all day, or times when my mum’s favourite song plays on the radio and I automatically ball my eyes out.
As a teenager, I used to feel Bitter at the fact that all of my friends still had their mum around. But growing up, I try to feel thankful that I was in a position where I have the most caring dad, a brilliant nan who is the ultimate mother figure, and 4 amazing siblings who were with me the whole way through it; some people do not have that.
Six years on, I still feel the same way, constantly pining for my mum. Still trying to not cry every time a stranger asks “so what does your mum do for a living?”. It almost hurts a little bit more now than it did six years ago because as I get older, I understand more and more about how my mum felt knowing she was going to die and leave her 4 young children behind, and there was NOTHING she could do about it. There isn’t a day that goes by where my heart isn’t heavy at the thought of my mum no longer being here with me, even if its just for a couple of seconds.
As hard as it sounds, The reality is that the grieving never stops, and I’m still trying to be ok with that, six years on. But sometimes in life (if you really REALLY look hard enough) theres a silver lining to every situation, and Grieving has made me a much more caring person. I find it natural to empathise with strangers now. I no longer jump to conclusions when someone is a dick to me, I always wonder what they are currently battling and I am 10X more grateful for the people in my life.
I do not agree with people that say “There’s people out there who have it worse than you” because I believe everyone feels pain differently, and someone losing their job can be just as upset as me losing a parent. But I do find peace in knowing that I have always had the protection from my brilliant dad and nan; and truth is there are people out there who never have had that. Trauma really does mature you in every single way. Everything I do I do it with my mum in mind, every choice I make i think “what would mum do?” or “would mum be proud?”.
If you find yourself in my situation; whether you have lost your dog, best friend, teacher or mum X amount of years ago and you still find yourself feeling drained every time you think of them no longer being here, remember that there are people out there that feel the same. Every single person will grieve differently- I feel comfort in talking about my mum as she was the most incredible person and I will never get bored of telling people how wonderful she was, other people may find comfort in never speaking about it again.
Bottom line is the human brain is not made for recovering from the intense pain of losing a loved one. This means we aren’t capable of recovering from grief. Over time we learn how to deal with it and boy does it take some time. Over the last six years I have moulded my grief into a way that makes me feel better. When you lose a loved one it feels like your life is over and you’ll never be happy again, but just think about the amount of people who sadly pass away every single day. There are billions of people out there experiencing some form of intense grief and still going about their life.
We’re all in the same boat, trying to navigate our way around this scary world, taking each day as it comes. Hold your loved ones close, be kind to everyone you meet and hold a thought for the people out there who are also struggling to go about their day.