My Dad felt my mum’s absence intensely. He cried for weeks. My grief was a lot less aggressive. I theorised that maybe, I had already grieved before her death and my sister and Dad were simply playing catch-up. Maybe I had already felt the worst of it. My friend Bea corrected that theory for me, “The thing about the five steps of grief that no-one tells you is that once you’ve completed them forwards and you think you’re ready to move on, you do them backwards. You will have to grieve at some point after your mum’s death, but don’t worry about it, it will just happen and there will be nothing you can do about it. You might also find that people have their own time-frame for your grief: 2 weeks of intense sadness, followed by 2 weeks of getting over it and then, viola, you should be totally over your mum’s death and be normal. Unfortunately, grief doesn’t work like that. It may be 2 weeks until you even feel it, don’t feel rushed by others, take it at it’s own pace and look after yourself.”
My friend’s said many wise things and encouraged me greatly. For friends who had lost family members themselves, they were honest about their grief, their experiences and their insecurities. They listened to my confused ramblings of how I thought I felt, even though I have no idea. They encouraged me to pursue new hobbies and interests in place of caring for my mum.
It’s strange returning to normal life after caring for someone close to you. Things I used to enjoy feel empty and pointless; there is no pleasure in watching period dramas, or visiting coffee shops alone. Playing Candy Crush Saga feels like a total waste of my life.
My mum’s death left me with a lot of spare time to fill, and at first my friends filled my time. They called regularly, visited me, and invited me to festivals. Friends that had backed off during my mum’s illness now reappeared and invited me out for coffee.
I received emails filled with sympathy and letters brimming with wisdom. Over the next few posts, I want to share some of my friend’s wise words; the letters and emails that encouraged me through those first few weeks. They will hold examples of the love and understanding my friends showed me and touch on how they encouraged me with my relationship with God.
Enjoy reading them, and be encouraged; these friends each lost a parent as a teenager/ young adult, but they now offer support and hope for the future.