How are you so strong?

I am constantly asked at the moment “How are you so strong after all you have been through?”.

For those who don’t know I lost my dad last year on March 10th 2018. It completely broke me to watch him deteriorate so quickly. 8 weeks later my mom went into cardiac arrest. Myself, my partner and her partner all took it in turns to do CPR, it was 7 minutes before she breathed again. She was taken to the hospital, put in a coma, transferred to intensive care, the same intensive care I watched my dad die in 8 weeks earlier 2 beds down from where he took his last breath. She made a miraculous recovery, came out of the hospital and whilst her memory wasn’t the same she seemed ok, she was still the mom we knew and loved. The most amazing woman. She told me I was put on this earth to save her as I’d also been on the phone to her while she was having a stroke some years before and stayed on the phone to keep her calm and told her what she needed to do.

On Sunday, February 17th 2019 I received the call that completely ripped me apart. My mom had suddenly died. I went into complete shock, I didn’t believe it, I still don’t believe it! My mom was the person id call hysterically crying when I was losing the plot over dads death! I suddenly felt so alone! I have my 2 sisters who are also heartbroken so I felt like I couldn’t call them or speak to them about it due to being too scared to upset them even more. I felt like such a failure, why wasn’t I there?! My mom had told me I was put on this earth to save her and I did nothing, had I have been there I could have done something. The lot has run through my head!

I would say I went into shock because I went back to work a week later and almost acted like nothing had happened, in my head, I thought I’ve just been through this so maybe I just know how to deal with it. A week later I sat in the doctors sobbing, honestly believing I had lost my mind. I was signed off work and took just over a week off. During this time I sat at home and was a complete mess. My Fiancee didn’t even know who I was I don’t think. I could barely speak, I didn’t want to speak, what did I have to talk about?!

As the following weeks have gone on I wouldn’t say I’m getting any stronger, I would say however I’m learning how to function. Some days I get up sobbing that I have to get dressed and go to work (maybe this is just me being lazy in all honesty), other days I think ‘Today is your day and you WILL make it a good one!’.

People say grief comes in waves and it absolutely does, no 2 days are the same. I think my biggest feeling currently is the feeling of being robbed. My whole life being ripped apart at 29, my parents will not see my walk down the aisle, meet my children, see our 14-year-old sister do her GCSE’S, see her pass her driving test, meet my older sisters future children. Just anything that could go through your mind has gone through mine.

So back to what this is about. People asking “How are you so strong?” the truth is I’m not. I’m not at all in fact. What I’m doing currently is surviving, existing, functioning.

What I need to be doing is LIVING! Living for the moment because trust me life is TOO SHORT! Whilst I have so much to completely crumble over I also have so much to LIVE for:

  • My sisters
  • My amazing Fiancee
  • My wedding
  • My honeymoon
  • Hopefully being lucky enough to have children
  • My in-laws (My mother in law to be is AMAZING! I’m not marrying into a mother/father in law from hell, that’s enough to be grateful for!)

My point is no matter what you are going through there are always things to live for!

Even if you’re truly at rock bottom you can live for the person you want to become, the person you CAN become. And if you don’t feel that way then speak to a doctor. There is absolutely zero shame in getting help because it is there if you need it.

My heart goes out to anyone who is going through anything similar or any form of grief, grief is grief and it bloody hurts but we have to keep on going. Over time we will learn to deal with these things. That does not mean we will ever forget! My parents are in my mind every single day and whilst life feels extremely cruel sometimes it does get easier. We must not feel guilty for smiling or moments of happiness (I know I have).

My mom had said to me that when anything happens to her she doesn’t want me crying and upset all the time like I was with Dad and I am trying my hardest to do that. If I can’t make my life a success for myself I will vow to do it for my angels who are watching over me and my sisters.

There are so many organisations and people to go to if you are going through the same. I’ve been given information for http://www.ataloss.org so it may be worth checking it out if you have the same going on.

That’s all I have to say for now.

Lots of love xx

 

Coping with Grief at Christmas

Normally my posts are light-hearted and making a joke of everyday situations but I know I am not the only one dealing with grief this Christmas so wanted to write something that may help someone else who feels the same as I do.

Sadly this is the first Christmas me and my sister will have without our dad who tragically passed away in March this year.

Whilst I want to be excited and feeling festive I’m not afraid to say I’m really struggling. I feel a HUGE void where my Dad should be. He should be sat at my table this Christmas enjoying it with the rest of us and it completely breaks my heart that he won’t be! Having said that I know he wouldn’t want me spending the day crying (which I probably will be anyway as ill be locked away in the kitchen) so I looked up so ways to deal with grief at Christmas. None of these things may help but its worth a try to attempt to fill the emptiness that I and others will be feeling this year.

Before I go into some of the things I’ve read, one thing I did do is buy him a present. I know it may sound silly to some people but to me, its helped. It’s a little windchime that I will be placing at his grave on Christmas day with an angel on. My dad used to buy me angels as little gifts so it felt fitting.

So onto some of the things I’ve read about:

  • Acknowledge that the holidays will be different and they will be tough.Don’t try and force yourself to be ok and strong. It doesn’t help anyone, certainly not yourself because all of that pent-up emotion is going to come out at some point! It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be different but go with it and feel how you feel.
  •  Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.I think ill light a candle by his picture as I often do, go and visit his resting place and have a Sloe Gin with him (he made the best Sloe Gin so I think he would approve).
  • Make a donation to a charity that was important to your loved one in their name.I will be looking for a sepsis charity to donate to. It doesn’t have to be a lot but what a gift to be able to put towards a cause that could potentially prevent further deaths in the future in honour of the special person you lost.
  • Skip an event if it’s all getting too much.Like many of us, there are so many events over Christmas, don’t feel like you have to show a brave face at all of them. If you’re not feeling up to it then don’t go, I’m not saying mope about in the house but keep busy in other ways. People aren’t going to be upset with you, they will understand your reasons.
  • Talk about your Christmas memories with them.Keep their memory alive, talk about the wonderful times you had together. Surely that’s what they would want, you to remember the fun and laughter you had in previous years.
  • If leaving an empty seat is too depressing, invite someone who doesn’t have any family to spend the holiday with.This is something I’m trying to do at the moment. I don’t have any grandparents alive but I’ve asked my Fiancee’s Nana if she has any friends that don’t have family that would like to join us Christmas day. I try and turn negatives into positives where I can to make the bad times bearable.

 

For anyone going through their first Christmas without a loved one it’s going to be tough but remember to try and enjoy yourself and don’t feel selfish for doing so.

Whether you know me or not if I can offer any support, a chat, even just a moan about how unfair it feels then contact me, send me a message, I may not be able to help but I understand the motions and a problem shared is a problem halved.

I wish you all the best Christmas and will keep all of those who are missing someone this year in my thoughts.

Lots of love to you all xxx