Let’s talk about grief

  • What I’ve learnt about grief so far

  • What I’ve learnt about grief so far

This is no particular order, it’s more my own observations of grief from the last few months since Mums death on 2 September 2022. Grief is changeable and confusing and very misunderstood until you experience it for yourself. It’s different for everyone depending on the person you’ve lost and your relationship with them. It feels like time stands still and yet everyone else seems to be moving forwards unaware of your loss and pain. We’re not very good about talking about it. We tend to use vague words when it’s mentioned; departed, loss, gone rather than death, dead, died. You may not feel that you’re ‘doing grief’ correctly! We’ve watched TV and films with the overly dramatic responses and then when we don’t respond that way we think there’s something wrong with us (there isn’t). You can wake yourself up crying. You can still laugh and joke and then be in tears the next minute. It can take weeks or months to say to someone that your Mum (or whoever it is) has died without choking up and being unable to speak. Putting a post on social media or sending emails to tell people that your loved one has died is a boon. I cried doing it, but I only had to send them and not say the words out loud. I don’t know how my Dad calmly rang and told people the day after Mum died, I couldn’t think let alone speak to people without welling up. Buy extra tissues and make sure they’re good strong ones and never leave home without a wad of them in your pocket! Sunglasses can be your friend when you go out!

I teach classes as well as being a hypnotherapist and coach and my classes all ‘know Mum & Dad’ some have even met them when we’ve had theatre trips. I found that to begin with I couldn’t talk about Mum as it would set me off, but have found over time that I can mention her and Dad in class and not well up and choke on my words. They’ve been a part of my classes for so long in the stories I tell that it’s nice to have them back again and people regularly ask after Dad which is lovely. Having a community helps to keep you afloat, people outside of immediate family who can support, laugh or give you space is important

Some people may ask after no time at all if you’re over it now. No I’m not, thanks for asking.

Time becomes elastic, you become stuck in a bubble in the build up to the funeral and you keep thinking that you should be getting on with things, back to work, back to life, back to reality and then you realise that it’s only been a week, or two weeks or a month or two months and now as I write this almost six months has passed and yet it feels like yesterday in may ways.

You appetite may disappear, you can find it hard to decide what to cook and eat, but do pay attention to your diet and your fluid intake, it’ll only make you feel worse if you don’t. Concentration levels are out of the window so not eating and drinking will add to this issue!

A song coming on the radio will floor you, listening to Junior Choice on Christmas Day may not have been one of my better moves (live and learn Kate, live and learn)

Grieving for two becomes a whole new ball game, three months after Mum died, my partner’s brother died. I’ve never seen one person die, so two in three months is not good for your head. I found that I kept seeing Mum in hospital in my mind’s eye every time I thought about her (so continuously) and found that the photo of her and Dad on my phone screensaver really helped me to see her as she was in life rather than at the end. I can still recall it, but it’s no longer front and centre in my mind now, but it did take time. I had just started to feel that I could start to concentrate and focus on work again and then bam! This took me back to the vision and sounds of the hospital for Mum and knocked me for a time

People often talk about the more, the more so you buy a yellow mini having rarely seen one and then everywhere you look there are yellow minis. I have found death to be like that (and I don’t like it). In the space of about a month 3 other friends Mum’s died, along with between then and now about another six. It can’t all be related to my age surely?

I am thankful that I got to be with Mum at the end, I know that many families going through lockdown weren’t able to have that time to say goodbye and breaks my heart. I know that on my drive having had the call I kept up the mantra ‘wait for me, wait for me’ and thankfully she did.

I have discovered that grief is like waves, they vary in height and intensity and on a daily basis. I am waiting for them to become more of the lapping of the waves on a warm beach providing comfort, but I suspect that is some way off. To all of you who have lost someone, take your time, be kind to yourself, talk about them, ask for help. There are bereavement group springing up, I know there are a few in Leicester and Leicestershire (Loros run bereavement hubs, details here )

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