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Ten things losing my mum taught me:
- Grief is a horrible and wonderful thing. Now I get it, ‘how can grief be wonderful?’ without watching my lovely mum slowly fade into nothingness, I wouldn’t appreciate her the way I do now. I wouldn’t grasp so tightly onto the memories we have the way I do now, I wouldn’t be able to look back, and see just how proud she was of me the way I do now. The big c word ripped my mum out of my arms, and swallowed her up into the void that is—well i'm not to sure what it is—but I tell myself it’s something lovely. It allowed me to appreciate just how amazing she was. It opened my eyes to the hard decisions she made that were for mine and my sister's benefit; it taught me the bittersweet side of love.
- I wouldn’t be as tuned into my body and my mind the way I am now. Currently, when I feel something, I embrace it. Now whether that be sadness, anger, hunger. I embrace the fact that I can feel, and that my body needs something in order to thrive. After losing my mum, it brought me to the realisation that not all the people around me are having a positive impact on my life, no matter how much I tell myself they are. It allowed me to address things I’ve been ignoring for such a long time.
- Some people just don’t care. Sure they say ‘I’m always here’, or some just don’t bother to message you at all, at least then people let you know where you stand. Life is short, and mean, and amazing all at the same time. Going through such a hard time highlights the gems that are scattered through your life. It highlights just how important they are to you, and how much more you should cherish them. It allowed me to cut ties I never knew I had, and strengthen the ones that matter
- Milestones just aren’t important any more. Birthdays, Christmas, even Saturdays aren’t as important anymore. Every hour blurs into another, every day of the week seems as one, every week slowly turns into a year. It all just seems to be coated in some cloudy haze that blinds you. Christmas morning isn’t the same when you don’t have the one you love the most. What’s the point in celebrating a birthday if you can’t celebrate with the person who gave you life? Saturday mornings are made for coffee dates with my loving family. Everything seems to have a gaping hole in them. Nothing is ever the same when you miss someone.
- Holding onto something you never believed in is totally normal. I personally never really got the thing with “mediums,” or whatever. But when you lose someone, and someone has a way of communication, it becomes a life line. Hearing someone talking on behalf of my mum, whether that be real, or a total load of bollocks, it’s a way of coping. Hearing they’re ok, they’re looking after you, and that they’re no longer in pain. It’s something you welcome with open arms.
- There’s no such thing as moving on. When I talk about my mum, I slip so easily into present tense, and that’s ok. My mum still is. She lives on through every member of my family. I will never get over the death of my mum, and once again, that is ok. Her life, and love, and death has forced me to see things from a different perspective. That things do get easier. Grief is something that tries to take over my life, and pull me down the slippery slope into the abyss of sadness, forcing me to believe that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t there. Grief migrates itself into my everyday life, I can, and will be happy, and mind numbingly sad at the same time. And that is ok.
- Grief isn’t linear. Everyone says there’s five stages of grief, but it doesn’t follow a strict and orderly line. It changes form and shape as it pleases, and offers nothing in return. One day you're angry, the next you're sad, and then everything seems fine. But grief has a tight grip around my throat, getting tighter and tighter when I’m not noticing. Grief isn’t life threatening or fatal, but sometimes it feels like it is.
- I am much stronger than I ever believed. Funnily enough that’s something my mum has been telling me for 19 years. And I finally believe her.
- Pain is a temporary thing, but it feels like it isn’t. This month marks the tenth month without my mum. Bit by bit, day by day, things do get better. Now when I say better, I mean you learn to live with it, you learn to not let it take over your world. The light at the end of the tunnel is close, and it is real. There are moments of happiness and calm in even the worst storms. Learn to laugh and cry in the same breath.
- And finally, the last thing losing my mum taught me, is that the feeling of getting a text, and hoping it’s from her will never go. The hope that the next person to walk through the door will be her, will never go. The image imprinted in my brain of her walking me down the aisle, or meeting my baby, or seeing all my milestones in life will never go. But I know she is always next to me, every step of the way, cheering me on from wherever it is that she is. I know she loved me more than life itself, and I know I have to make her proud.
I’ll miss you always, and I love you a million times more mum,
your baby girl always,