This post talks about the loss of parents through death, mental health struggles and dealing with grief and loss. Please be aware of this if continuing to read. Thank you.
I am an orphan. That is, I have lost both of my parents, my grand parents and have no surviving older relitives. Most people at 37 years old do not expect this to be their reality, but this is mine. March is a trying month for me as I lost both my parents, 6 years and 3 days apart. Throw into the mix mothers day and you have a whole turmoil of emotions which consume me each year.
My Dad passed away now 12 years ago, a few months before Nathan was born. My mum, 6 years ago after a long and traumatic hospital stay. The sudden overwhelming sense of being alone is something which I will never be able to shake, but does get worse at this time of year when the anniversaries if their passing hit me in quick succession, followed by mothers day.
I know I am not alone. I know I have people around me, that care for me and worry. It doesn’t stop that darkness that looms. I know that March is a bad month and so I prepare in the ways I can. I give myself space and time to deal with my emotions, to not feel guilty, to just accept how I feel.
A friend asked me why I do it to myself. Why do I allow myself to feel sad? Why do I hide away from the world for that week, why put myself through that every year? These were words of someone who had not experienced grief and loss on such an epic level. I explained that I allow myself these days not out of fear, frustration, guilt or depression, but because it’s healthy to accept and understand that you can be sad. Being sad and showing emotions is not a sign of weakness, nor is it something to be ashamed by. Everyone deals with grief and loss in different ways and there is no correct formula for how you should act.
I could go back to my home city and sit in the gardens if remembrance. I could have had headstones to visit, graves to tend to and upkeep. My parents both wanted simple cremation options and didn’t want to be made into items, planted as trees or scattered anywhere after. My mum believed that we were just vessels, and to worship them in death was quite morbid, but instead we should remember our loved ones in their best form and not as a headstone or garden arrangement, though I can see how that can bring peace to some.
Over the years I have tried many things at this time of year. I have thrown myself into work, ignored it completely, accepted what it is and just accepted that it’s ok to feel down. I’ve tried to run away and hide and even tried to sleep and hibernate through the week. The only thing which has worked for me is accepting and allowing myself to feel what I need to feel and not be ashamed. For my mental health, I do believe that this is the best way for me to deal with my emotions. But as I have said, there is no hard and fast rule and sometimes it does take a good few years to work out how to cope.
The saying goes that grief and loss get easier with time but in fact they don’t. The things that get easier is your way of coping and dealing with the situation. We still have those exact same emotions, we miss the ones we love just as much as the day they were taken from us, but we find ways to deal with it better, and whatever your method, you should feel no shame in dealing with things your own way and also with expressing your emotions. Keeping them bottled is the worst thing to do. Allow yourself that time if you need it. No one will ever think badly of you for it.
If you would like to leave words of advice or tips on how you have handled dealing with grief, I would love for you to share your thoughts below or via Facebook.
Love, hugs and boxes of tissues