Grief is one of the biggest challenges we all face in life. But one of the least talked about between us. I am sure that most of us here have been affected by Grief at least once in our lifetime. If not, on multiple occasions!
It seems shocking that talking about our own stories of Grief seems so taboo and unacceptable to those around us. At a young age, I had my own experience of what that was like. I wanted to talk, I needed to talk but I was made to feel alien, weird or miserable for wanting to talk about something that was so profoundly big in my life! The criticism came from friends and family, even those that shared my Grief did not want to talk about it.
Today I’m sharing my story to raise awareness of the challenges we face when we experience grief. Sending love to you for all of those you’ve lost loved ones. This past year the world has been touched by a huge loss, from the pain of death to the loss of losing all they’ve worked so hard to achieve. I believe that opening up the conversation about Grief, will allow us to heal with grace, to feel cared for and loved in our darkest moments.
So this is where my story of Grief began. On the 3rd May 1999 my mum at the age of 44 went to A & E because she had pain in her stomach- she was in and out of the hospital for 2 weeks and on Tuesday 18th May, they finally diagnosed her with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. She and we, were all devastated, shocked, broken. I can’t really put words to how we all felt. We were living in a daze, numb to everything around us!
We didn’t expect it, who would have. She had barely been ill! An energetic woman, who seemed healthy and full of life! I always remember her biggest concern was losing her hair. We sat with her, tried to help her feel better. Be positive, they’ll start chemo and and hopefully she’ll get better.
On Thursday 20th May things turned for the worse and she fell into a deep sleep. I arrived to visit in the Morning, but she was no longer there to talk to. I had to call my family, my dad in Spain, her mum was on holiday in Malta, telling everyone to come quick. But it was too late. At 2.22 that day she was gone. At 44 years old her story ended!
Our life after Sue was a tough road, we all struggled. We’d lost our family. We had to make the arrangements, sort out her estate, sell our home we were all living in, we were lucky her friend Chrissie and my Grandpa helped us. But the true weight was on my shoulders. As the one that has always taken the lead role, I needed to be strong!
The truth, I didn’t know if I could make it through that first year. Thoughts of not existing felt easier than carrying on with this emotional and physical pain. It was the darkest most awful pain I’d ever felt. I wanted to end it many times.
It’s hard to cope with those feelings. You can’t just sit and talk about it. My partner couldnt bear me crying, he would tell me off for showing my emotions. No one wants to see your pain or hear you complain.
Within 1 month I was being told to pull myself together.
After 2 Months are you still going on about that!
3 Months pass- you should be over this by now!!
It goes on. The rejection, the disgust for my pain made it even harder to heal my broken heart.
The only option for me was to isolate myself, I didn’t talk to anyone. I shut down all my emotions. Inside I became an emotional zombie but so debilitated and weak inside from my pain. Putting on a smile for everyone around me because I knew that was all they wanted to see. I created a mask of strength and hard work and wore it for 20 years like a badge of honour!
I started to believe time heals, but it’s not true and all I did was block my feelings up inside! I become a different person so as not to upset anyone around me.
People aren’t honest about how it feels, because they feel that no one wants to hear. No doubt I’ll be asked why I wrote this post. But we are all human and we are have to face this pain in our life at some point. It is afterall a part of life.
Would it not be better to understand so we can support each other?
Would it not be better to know what to say?
To sit and listen?
To let them have a voice and cry and feel the pain running through them?
We sometimes feel there is no-where to turn, but if we are faced with unhelpful responses from those around us, there are professionals ready to help.
It took me a long time to heal my pain. With the start of Covid I lost much of my business, additionally the loss of a beloved pet, triggered my unresolved grief. In those moments of pain, I realised I couldn’t do it alone. I hired a Grief Recovery Coach. If I’m honest, it’s not easy, nothing good comes easily, but it is very worth it! 20 years on I have finally recovered now, I have completed, healed, worked through my grief. The transformation from this had much greater effects than I had expected. I began to feel whole again, to feel calmer!
Today I’m feeling better, today, I’m remembering those happy times. The amazing meals, the crazy adventures, up mountains, down rivers, driving to the beach in the middle of the night, seriously we really did have the most incredible adventures! A woman so crazy and happy, with so much vitality for life, despite the horrendous cards she was dealt when she was young. I’m so happy to have my positive memories, I’m so happy to feel the love and to know now, no matter where I am my Mum is by myside.