My experience of dealing with grief

Unfortunately, death is one of those inevitable things that occurs in everyone’s life, and it can be hard to deal with either it’s a a friend, family member, pet, or even your favourite celebrity; everyone handles grief differently, and even every loss is handled differently by the individual grieving. So in this post I’m gonna share 4 of my experiences of dealing with grief. 

Some people may find this post upsetting or triggering, I have tried my hardest to include enough detail but not too much to try and not upset anyone, so I apologise in advance. 

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The first experience I will talk about, is when my Great Aunty Pat died when I was around 13. She previously had breast cancer which was treated and given the all clear, but she then got throat cancer a few years later. My great aunty got to the stage where she had to be put into a hospice- she was fed by a tube in her stomach, and could no longer speak even with a tracheostomy tube in her throat. Sadly, she couldn’t fight it anymore as her cancer had spread to different places including her tongue which ultimately took her from us. I used to visit her every weekend with my mum and nan when she was in the hospice, and one weekend it terrified me; my great aunty could barely keep her eyes open (I was staring at her to make sure she was still breathing) she’d been refusing her food shake things, barely wrote anything on her notepad to us, and her skin was an almost grey ish colour. That day I actually went and sat in the family room on my own for a bit because of how upsetting it was to see her like that. The next weekend approached and for the first time, I decided I didn’t want to go to the hospice because I was too scared to see how bad my aunty had got, so I stayed at home while my mum and nan went; my great aunty pat passed away a couple of days later. I knew the second my mum came into my room that morning ghat she’d gone. My first feeling after the initial shock/upset was guilt. I seriously beat myself up for not going to see her when I had one final chance to; I had constant nightmares to the point I was too afraid to sleep, and because I’d of had no sleep I was missing out on a fair bit of school too. Eventually, I did start thinking logically and realised I had nothing to feel guilty about; I didn’t have to visit her every weekend, and many 13 year olds wouldn’t. I remembered that we enjoyed so many good times together throughout my life, and I knew that she’d want me to remember those times rather than beating myself up and being sad. Even to this say I will still get teary eyed when thinking about her, but that’s because I love and miss her (I’m only human I have a heart) and when I look at my daughter’s big bright eyes it often reminds me of my great aunty pat because she had beautiful big eyes too.

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A couple of years ago, I got a message on facebook from an old work mate asking for my phone number as he had something to tell me- one of the lads we worked with who was my age (Scott) had hung himself. This first thing I did was kind of laugh and say “you’re joking aren’t you? It’s gotta be some kind of joke”, but I knew it wasn’t. It was such a shock because he was always so happy whenever I saw him; we drifted a bit after our work place closed down, but we often bumped into each other in the local clubs and had a laugh and a dance together. His death made me sad at the thought of him being so unhappy or in such a dark place to be able to take his own life like that. The night of his funeral and wake, I had a couple of drinks with the work crew and other friends, then went home and got royally hammered- making sure to eat walkers salt and vinegar crisps before going to bed as it was the hang over prevention method Scott would always do on every night out with us. 

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David Robert Jones, more commonly known as David Bowie was the next death to hit me like a tonne of bricks; he has been my idol and inspiration for as long as I can remember, and where died I felt a part of me had died too. David Bowie taught me to be myself and not care what anyone else thought, to not follow trends just to fit in, and to not be afraid to show intelligence. Even now a year on, I can’t watch Labyrinth or any interviews or other films with him without getting choked up-he was and always will be a massive influence on my life and who I am, so of course I’ll still shed a tear for him. I keep his spirit alive by listening to his music, watching his films, and letting him live on through my love and appreciation for him. 

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6 months after losing David Bowie, I lost my closest friend. I had first met Andrew when I was little as my aunty was friends with his older sister, and one day we went to their house and that’s when I first met Andrew. We lost contact until I was about 11 or 12 when we met again through mutual friends and stayed close ever since. A few years later we both admitted to liking each other, but due to various reasons I won’t go into we never started a relationship with each other, so we just stayed close friends; ever since our admission to each other, we still very much liked each other and always ended every conversation with “I love you” and spent most of our time together cuddled up like a loved up couple, but we still never got together because of other people who would of caused shit for us both if we did. I whole heartedly (is that even a word?) Believe he is my soul mate, and the only person I’ve been truly in love with. Andrew was born with various health issues, and spent a lot of time in and out of hospital; unfortunately with his last hospital stay he didn’t get better. I was talking to Andrew’s mum about an hour (if that) before he went, just asking how he was etc. I was scrolling through facebook when I saw a post saying “RIP Andrew” (which was taken down in a matter of minutes because his family wanted to tell everyone properly etc). My daughter was asleep on the sofa, and my mum was in my kitchen- I flew out to the kitchen and dropped my phone onto the highchair crying “mum Andrew is dead” to which I dropped to my knees and sobbed curled up in a ball. My heart physically hurt, I felt sick, distraught, and so so angry that such a genuine beautiful person had been taken from me. My friend Lindsay then called me to tell me the news (not knowing about the facebook post I’d seen that had been removed) and we both cried on the phone together. I think I cried pretty much nonstop for a week or more after. My heart was broken and I felt completely lost (I still do feel lost without him being a text away) the last time I spoke to Andrew was to wish him luck on his driving test and to congratulate him when he passed (we often went periods of time without speaking because of life getting in the way but we always knew the other was always there if we needed each other). I couldn’t go to his funeral because it was on my daughters birthday, which was hard as I believe funerals help with the closure and acceptance of reality. I did however become a blood donor for him (he had a lot of blood transfusions in his life so I wanted to give back for him) and I also got a tattoo for him. I visited his grave in the September when I visited my home town for the day/night, and I plan to always visit him when I’m there. I also plan on getting a tattoo of an old drawing he done in a notebook of mine back in 2007/2008 at some point too. I still cry about him no longer being here, and I miss him terribly, but I know he wouldn’t want me to cry (he would always give me a ‘huggle’, kiss my forehead and say something to make me laugh if I cried around him) so instead, I try to carry his strength that he had for so long to keep me going forward in my life while always keeping him close in my heart. I also have photos and a photo candle of him in my living room so he’s always there smiling at me and watching over me. 

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No one can tell you how to grieve, or how long for, there is no right or wrong way it time limit. Time does not heal or make it easier, time just allows you to adjust to the situation and learn how to accept the reality of them being gone. The main thing to remember is that they wouldn’t want you to be miserable,they’d want you to keep living your life and enjoying it while remembering the good times together. Those you love will live on through you and your memories, so stand tall, allow yourself to be happy, and only think of the good times with those you’ve lost, not the bad. 

🔹immeamy, you’re you, and that’s the best way to be🔹

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