Sorry it has been so long. I have took some time to work on myself and get myself into a strong mindset as I know the next few weeks are always such a strain on my mental health. The 21st of July marks 4 years since we lost mum. Every year for a few weeks following that I find really challenging. I’m not sure if it is because it plays on my mind consistently, even subconsciously or if it’s a weird form of PTSD however I know myself and I know what to expect.
I wanted to do a post addressing the fact that four years have passed but some days I feel my loss as deep as I did the day it happened. This year feels really significant for me as it is the year I am no longer a teenager. For all of my mums illness I was a child and then a teenager. I am now an adult however I think there is a massive stigma around the fact that when you’re an adult you are suddenly not entitled to have really low points because you have shit to do. Some days it is ok to not want to see the outside of your bedroom walls and other days it is ok to want to be in constant company. There is no right way to continue life after a loss that shakes up your world.
I cannot comment on how my sister or my dad feel however I know I constantly think about my mum, probably a lot more than I should. I still walk around the shops and think “Oh she would love that” “that top is so mum” “she would find that funny” or something will happen and I will still think “I wish I could give mum a call and have a rant”. I’m not sure what I expected to feel four years down the line, to be honest I don’t think I even thought that far ahead but I definitely did not expect to feel in the early stages of grieving still.
The last few months I have been in a really good place mentally, with the odd wobble or two. Though I have experienced something I never have before, trouble sleeping. My mind has started working double time at night and I lay there thinking about old times in a positive way but then I will remember that they are just memories and I will never have new ones to add to the list. Although my life has continued and I have proceeded to make some amazing memories myself, my mum will never be at the forefront of those again.
In my life, emotions run really high at this time of year and from 2015 I developed a form of resentment for summertime. This sounds very ridiculous but I have given it a lot of thought and actually researched a lot into it. Seasonal depression is a thing but commonly it is in the winter, when it’s cold and gloomy. Though for me, I genuinely believe I have this, intermittently I am not depressed all the time. There is such an expectation to “have an amazing summer” and have “the time of your life” I will try to explain the best I can here. The loss of my mum and all the destruction that followed was in the summer time. I had just left school, which was my safe place, and teachers that became a huge part of my support system. I had finished my course of sessions with my counsellor after 5 years. I felt so alone and that I had to deal with all the emotions on my own. It was coming up to my sixteenth birthday (such a “big birthday” for so many kids) and I had a spa break lined up for me and my mum.
All of my life, well as long as I can remember anyway, my mum and her friends used to do an annual spa break. I always used to beg and plead to go with her. To go to most spas you have to be a minimum age of 16. Mum used to say to me to just wait and on my sixteenth birthday we will go together. Ofcourse, this never happened as mum passed away a week before my birthday. Though, she made me promise that I still went and had a good time as she knew how long I had waited for that moment. I went with my best friends and it was a really bittersweet moment.
Then of course we had the funeral, which again was very traumatic. I won’t go into this too much as I genuinely cannot remember it all too well. I think the memories have been really repressed and is something I don’t like to think about too much.
Ever since then every summer I have felt a wave of depression. I know you shouldn’t expect to feel a certain way just because of the time of year but for me I can see a pattern in my behaviour and mental health fluctuate at different times of the year.
Though, these past four years haven’t been all bad. There are so many things I’ve done and achieved that I wish I could tell my mum. These are
- Doing amazing in my GCSES
- Getting my A-levels
- Getting an unconditional place in my chosen university (even though I didn’t go it is still an achievement for me)
- Running multiple amazing and very successful charity events
- Starting my mental health blog Finally finding a job that I enjoy and doesn’t make me unhappy
- Making strong new friendships and having so many amazing people around me
- Staying alive and healthy (generally speaking) through it all
The last point may seem very deep but I think it’s very important to know when to give yourself a pat on the back for literally breathing. It would have been very easy to hate the world and let my loss consume me, don’t get me wrong, at times it did. But the fight that I have in me, clearly in my genes from the bravest fighter I know, my mum, did not let me accept that this is it.
Though it breaks my heart every single day I will not let my loss control me. As disturbing as it is that my mums life is no longer continuing that does not mean mine is at a halt. I refuse to sit at a red light and let the years pass me and let my grief overshadow how beautiful the world can be.
My mum went through the same loss as me and still went on to raise two children (along with my dad) and give us the most amazing memories, even in the darkest times.
I cannot and will not accept that this is it. I will never ever get over the loss that I have suffered and I may think about it everyday for the rest of my life in passing thoughts but I know I have an angel protecting me. I have come so far from the dark rut that depression left me in and I can only continue to get stronger. There may be days, weeks, months that I may relapse and be in a bad place but I trust that bad times don’t last forever. I have an amazing group of friends, a sister and dad that I know will take care of me should I go there again. But I also have myself. I am strong and I am brave.
4 years may have passed and time will continue ticking on but in my heart there hasn’t been a day since my mum is not there. She is with me always. In person or in spirit.
She is there.
I know it.