POST 35: Coping with grief

My mum died nearly 7 weeks ago. It was absolutely tragic the way in which it happened. I miss her.

But, there is one thing that I am finding even harder. People seem to think that I should fall to pieces and be emotionally bereft. Every time that I tell people that I’m coping and that my parents’ faith has helped me, they tell me that it is bound to hit me at some point…that I will collapse. Why? What is the necessity of huge grief to show that you care? I feel like by coping, I am actually letting people down more than if I didn’t cope….how strange is that! Whilst I am pretty sure that my mum would be proud to see me managing, it seems that it isn’t really ok with most of society.

My mum (and dad) brought me up as a strong individual. An opinionated individual (don’t laugh!). I believe that whilst my childhood wasn’t always easy, that they brought me up to work hard, to express my emotions when I need to, but most importantly to be me. I really believe that the childhood I had, made me into the person I am today and to be totally honest, I am pretty proud of that. Nick, the family and I have had to face into some pretty tough stuff over the past 5 years but I truly believe that a large part of why I managed that was due to my upbringing.

So, perhaps for me, if I was to crumble now, it would be a sign that everything that I thought I had learnt wasn’t a very honest outlook.

At mum’s funeral, I did a tribute to her. I was petrified more than I have ever been. I was desperate to reflect my feelings honestly and to give her the tribute that she deserved. But I was so scared that I would break up and cry. I knew no-one would mind, but for me, I just needed to get what I wanted to say across. I am sure that having to do it, changed the day of the funeral for me. From the minute we arrived at the cemetery, I think I was working hard to keep myself stable. I really felt that if I let go at that stage, that I might not make the rest of the day. But once I had got past that part of the day, I kept reminding myself that all mum had ever wanted was a celebration of her life and not a mourning.

When we walked into the church for her Thanksgiving service, the first thing I saw was the powerpoint full of pictures of my mum over the years. My brother had put this together and it was beautiful. It made me gulp if I’m honest, and I looked away as I couldn’t bring myself to take it in. But after that, I listened to the eulogies and felt proud…even happy. And then I said my tribute. And I managed it. It wasn’t without a couple of moments, but I did hold it together and I hope I did her proud like I had wanted….wanted more than anything. I know that I’m really proud of everyone who was involved in that day….I am lucky to be a part of such an amazing group of family and friends.

But back to my initial point. If you read this, please don’t suggest it will hit me later. It might. And if it does, that is fine. But I don’t want to feel bad that I haven’t had that depth of emotion. I want to be proud of the fact that I have coped how she always wanted me to (and how I told her I wouldn’t be able to!). I know there will be sadder times. There were two of my challenges she had really supported. The business one and the distribution of the diagnosis pathway….when I completed those, it made me remember her and wish she was still here to share the moment with me. I know that when I hit 40 in a couple of weeks, I will wish she was there to celebrate with us. But she isn’t…..and I’m sort of ok with that.


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