What Losing My Mum Has Taught Me
1554 days ago my world was turned upside down.
At 28 I lost my mum to cancer.
Until that point I had no idea that we as humans could endure so much pain and still survive.
Mum had been sick for 5 years, so in the back of my mind I knew this day would eventually come, but when it did it still took me by complete surprise.
How was I supposed to go on in a world without my mum?
How was I supposed to do all the fun and exciting things I had planned to do if I couldn't share them with mum?
How could I ever get married if I couldn't go wedding dress shopping with mum?
How could I ever become a mum myself without the help of my own mum?
Those questions and so many more have been going through my head for the past 4 years.
At times I honestly didn't know how I would survive without my mum. But I have and I will continue to do so.
The past four years has taught me a lot about grief, and I honestly don't think there is anything life could throw at me that I could not handle. The strength and resilience I have developed will see me through anything.
Four months after my mum passed away my best friend lost her dad. At the time I could not understand why this was happening to both of us, it just seemed so unfair. To help her through this tough time I started sending her messages that contained a 'tip of the day.' It was therapeutic for me as well because it showed me what the past four months had taught me.
The tips I sent her were:
You will eventually feel like yourself again, it just takes time.
Looking back over this tip I don't know if I still believe this. I think you learn to create a new type of normal, one without the person that you lost.
Unfortunately things will get worse before they get better.
If only someone had told me this. Once the adrenalin wears off, that's when it really hits.
Only time will ease your pain.
But it will never completely take it away.
Whatever you are feeling is completely normal.
There is no ‘right way’ to grieve.
Don't stop talking to your friends or family.
I should have taken some of my own advice here!!
Do whatever feels right for you.
Look after yourself, and take it one day at a time.
I learnt a lot in those first few months, but what I didn't realise is that four years down the track I would still be learning and figuring out how to live a life without mum.
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that you actually have to work things out for yourself, that is when the real change occurs.
For the past four years I have gone to see so many different people hoping they would 'fix' me. Did it work? Sort of. I have come to realise they fixed me on the surface but underneath I still had a lot of work to do, work that could only be done by me.
For so long I thought I would get to a stage where I no longer feel angry, sad or upset. I have now come to realise that that day will never come. I will always have times in my life where these feelings come up and that is totally ok. I now know that it is important to acknowledge those feelings and to understand that over time they won't always shake me to my core.
They are a part of who I am. They allow me to do what I do.
As I move through life I have now reached a point where I am ready to move forward. For so long I have been scared of being happy and doing what I want because I didn't want to experience it without mum, but I have now realised that I also don't want to be sad without mum being here to comfort me.
The truth is that I have to be one or the other because mum is not here and that will never change. So if I have to choose I may as well be happy, because staying sad will not actually bring her back.