It has been three months since my mum passed away, and I can tell you that at present, I miss her beyond any comprehension. The last 12 weeks have brought me so many different emotions that I can't tell if its sadness, angry or happiness. What I do understand, as I experience this journey is that every person I’ve met who’s experienced a great loss is that his or her grief is unique to him or her. For me though, coming up to my mums last few days, I had switched into autopilot. As my mum lay on her hospital bed, propped up with pillows at either side, she asked me to do something for her. It was to plan her funeral with her and as much as I didn’t want to talk about planning her funeral, I could see such dignity and strength in a woman not afraid of death and the unknown, she said, “You’re my son and I fought to have you, take this loss one day at a time, it will be hard so cry when you need to, allow yourself time because time heals all wounds, I need you to live the best possible life for me and you”. As I listened to her, I thought to myself, heres a person on their deathbed, knowing they will die and still this person is still being my mother, a wife, a sister, a grandmother and a friend. I couldn’t have been prouder of her.
Hour by hour and day by day, as time passes me by, I switch in and out off autopilot and allow myself the head space to grieve. Although during the events after my mums passing there was this clinical process that takes place after death and it seems someone must switch into a permanent state of autopilot to allow for the funeral to take place. It went a little like this; my mum passed away and after a few minutes of crying, I said to my sister, “I need to ring the funeral director, can you get the clothes you want her to wear in the coffin?”. My sister had picked out the outfit my mum was going to wear to her 21st birthday. 45 mins after my mum passed her GP arrived at the house, the doctor walked into my mums bedroom, where she lay and said to me and my brother ''Boys, you came from your mother, you are half of what she is, she will never be gone while you walk this earth''. She then proceeded to examine my mum then pronounced her dead at what I believe was 4:06pm. After this I went to the funeral directors home where I was met by such a lovely lady. We had been chatting about my mum’s funeral requests and I’d forgotten I hadn’t picked out a coffin. The funeral director took me into a room that was brightly lit, with coffins stacked up like sofas in a furniture shop. At the time it didn’t even bother me, but as I think back on these events in the moment I was so switched into autopilot that it didn’t even bother me that there were coffins stacked up. Now, however, I think about how creepy that experience actually was to me. I was that hell bent on making sure that everything my mum had requested was met, I almost felt, as though I was directing the funeral myself.
Generally through counseling I have found that most have said "The Five Stages of Grief" will be something people will cycle through after the loss of a parent/loved one. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, I however call them the five deadly sins of grief. These stages for some come with no order as to where and which one you may feel on a daily basis. You could feel numerous or perhaps all five in one day. My own personal experience is still on going, although it is easing everyday. One thing I’ve noticed is the impatient society around me with the expectation for you to hurry up and get better quickly.
Grief is a curious thing and I’d love to ask the person who came up with the word “Grief” what where they thinking when they called these emotions Grief?. To me I believe, I’m experiencing numerous, even thousands of different stages, phases, feelings, desires! Grief to me, really is the most mentally exhausting, hunting, frustrating and testing life experience one person perhaps will ever have to journey. Grief to me, is out shopping, and as the world around me moves on I want to scream I’m hurt and I’m scared. Grief to me is lying in my bed for days crying and begging for relief from it. Grief to me is smashing my phone, my watch and smashing my heart into the ground as hard as I possible can. Grief to me is sitting in the company of friends, smiling and chatting but you have to leave because your filling with tears and you don’t want to cause any awkward upset. Grief to me is wakening every night after a horrible dream. Grief to me is someone you know avoiding you because they have no idea what to say or do to comfort you. Grief to me is pretending to friends your good because you want them to treat you the same as before. Grief to me is people saying, “Awk well you have all them good memories don’t you” and in your head your screaming ''SHUT UP!!'' I want them back, they where taken to soon, I want this pain to go. Grief to me is as simple as this, it has no rules or regulations in how and when it chooses to consume all corners of your mind, body and soul! Grief to me is life experience. Grief to me is a mental and physical journey every single individual will take, no matter how much wealth or health we have it’s a must do journey, Grief to me, is like glass or glitter, you can drop a glass on the floor or throw a handful of glitter into the air but when you try to clean it up, you’ll never get it all. There will either be tiny pieces if glass somewhere or tiny flakes of glitter deeply embedded somewhere. Even long after the event, you will still find shards or glitter tucked into corners, it will always be there somewhere.
What is grief? My grief is thinking of the funny and amazing memories that people tell me think off! My grief is finding the energy to allow myself space away from everyone and everything! My grief is, wearing it on my sleeve and not hiding away. There isn’t a right or wrong way to grieve a loss, and no amount of accelerating of the process will fix you. No one should tell you how to grieve, the only person who can do that is yourself. No wound is as mentally as large as losing your mum. The mental pain however is beginning to become bearable again for me, I have my bad days but my good days are so much better, its how I know im healing.