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Making Sense of Grief

Making Sense of Grief

Loosing a loved one changes everything. Loosing a loved one when you are 13 and trying to make sense of grief as a child, shapes you into a different person and changes your world in a way you can never comprehend. Read my perspective on my experience below.

Mothers Day has just past here in the UK and after 21 long years of not having my mam, it does not make it any easier. I have talked about my past mental health struggles here.

I was 13 when my mam died. To everyone around us it was tragic. A young women cut off in her prime and leaving a husband and two children behind. Which it was, don’t get me wrong.

But to me, it was something different.

To me, it was the mark of a new era. At 13 you are finding your way in the world. Trying to find your place, understanding who you are, trying to make sense of how the world and those in it, work. So to lose your family anchor and your guiding light at this age meant that I was never going to see the world the same way again.

I was woken to the sound of my dad breaking down and deep down I knew what had happened but I was paralysed with fear. I couldn’t move. So I just lay there crying waiting for them to come and tell me the news I knew was coming.

The thing I was most scared of was understanding at that moment in time, nothing was ever going to be the same again. I was never going to be the girl I once was. But I didn’t actually know what that meant.

Looking back the hardest thing for me to process was that I didn’t understand why the world still continued as normal. I was walking down the street and people were going about their daily work, stopping for chats, laughing, discussing the weather…. Yet my world had just crashed around me. Everything that I knew and understood about the world didn’t make sense to me anymore. Why could no one see that? My mam had just died. She had left me and nothing had changed. How do you explain that to a little girl?

I didn’t understand why everything seemed so different but at the same time it did not.

And that is exactly what it was – that was the moment I knew what it all meant…..

making sense of grief
Me as a baby, my big sister and my mam <3

Death as heart wrenching as it is, is inevitable. Whether you lose a mother, a father, a child, an uncle or even a pet. You feel as though your world has fallen and particularly with a parent, your protector and your guide is gone. You feel lost – and as my mam would sometimes say – like you are up shit creek without a paddle.

But you cannot accept that as your new reality. Grief, the vulture that it is, will eat away at you if you let it. It covers the real world with a shroud and lets you believe that’s just the way it is.

And yes it is – for some time. Allow yourself to feel the pain, the sorrow. Look around you and let yourself get frustrated with the delivery drivers continuing their delivery routes as normal. But then allow yourself to pull that shroud to one side and realise that actually the world is the same as it was before.

As despite the fact you feel like your world has fallen, the one great tragedy that rocked you – was a part of life.

We love strong, we lose hard and life goes on.  

Understanding that harsh reality at age 13, is not something I would wish on anyone. But for me personally, I am glad I had that realisation at an early age. I was given the gift of realising that shit happens but despite that shit, life is beautiful – and for periods of time you may not see that and think it is impossible to ever see it again – but trust me it is.

Life can always be beautiful – you just have to make it that way. It takes work and you may not feel you have the strength. But trust me when I say you do – we all do.

Life goes on and life finds a way.

If you or your child has suffered a loss, get in touch with Winston’s Wish, a charity that supports bereaved children, their families. 

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Simple Joy was founded by Hayley Forster, a Professional Organiser & Stress Management Coach. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity!

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