Saturday, 30 September 2017

How Grief Affects Me

Understanding grief can be difficult, certainly from an outsiders perspective, and especially if you've never suffered with it before.

Just to give you an idea of how bizarre grief can be sometimes; on the day I'm writing this post I received a certificate in the post.  This certificate is in my Mum's name, and is to commemorate her organ donation, that saved the lives of two men.  Amazing right?  Except, right now, I don't want it, and as I write this I feel angry that I've received it.  Right now, I feel like it's a piece of paper that I'm expected to frame and hang on my wall, being a constant reminder that my Mum is gone.  Right now I don't need a piece of paper to mark what she did.  I know in my own head and heart how amazing that is, and right now that's where I need it to stay; in my head.  Not in visible view.  I feel angry that this was sent to me without anybody asking me if I wanted it in the first place.  

I felt so angry I wanted to tear it up, throw it away and be rid of it.  I didn't do this, because I know later down the line I would regret acting so irrationally.  Instead I have asked Spencer to hide it somewhere.  Some place I won't find it, and where it's out of sight, because right now, I'm not in a place to deal with it's presence in my home.

I know what you're thinking.  How ungrateful do I sound right?  Somebody does something nice for me and sends me something that commemorates what could be classed as one of the most amazing acts one human can do for another, and I react with anger?!  I know how crazy/outrageous/unhinged I sound right now.

This is the thing about grief.  it's irrational, and you react in ways that make no sense to the outside world.  I mean, it doesn't even make sense to me!  it's strange, and confusing and I felt even more angry that I was so angry over what is essentially a piece of paper, and I ended up in a vicious cycle of anger that literally felt like it was surging through my veins.  Then I the middle of the canteen at work.

Thankfully nobody approached me, because that would have been fun to explain to my fellow office dwellers wouldn't it?!

As irrational as my feelings are at this present moment in time, I don't feel bad for them, and I won't apologise for them.  I spent far too much time at the beginning of all of this apologising for my grief.  Apologising for crying over the loss of my Mum because it made others feel uncomfortable.  I've spent months trying not to bring her up, again, because people feel uncomfortable, and now, maybe I've done myself more harm than good.  Maybe by worrying about how my grief is affecting others and internalising all of my thoughts and feelings they're now manifesting is weird and wonderful ways that would make me react in anger at a certificate marking my Mum's organ donation.

I'm not apologising anymore.

Instead I'm going to try this thing where I accept my feelings, allow them to wash over me, feel however I need to feel about something in that moment in time, then move forward.

This is just one of the many irrational feelings I've had as a result of grief since losing my Mum.  It's such a bloody hard emotion to make sense of.  It's not like being in a constant state of sadness as many seem to think.  Grief hits you in waves, and not every one is the same.  Some of the waves are full of sadness, some full of anger, and some full of bitter sweet memories of the ones you've loved and lost.  It's only recently that I've learnt that it's best to ride the waves when they hit instead of trying to fight them off.

I'm not entirely sure where I was going with this post if I'm honest, and I'm pretty sure it's a rambly, jumbled up mess that is a pretty good representation of what's going on in my brain right now.  The emotions were so strong in me today, and I just needed to get them out somewhere.  In this wave of grief I thought this could make a good blog post.  Maybe it will help somebody else who might be grieving feel a little less crazy, because I know I've felt crazy at times as a result of grief (The day I'm writing this post being one of them!).

For too long I've thought of grief as having an end point.  That I would grieve for my Mum, go through all the stages of grief, then I would be able to move forward with my life, but 10 months down the line I've learnt that the grief you feel from losing a parent will never go away.  This is the kind of grief that becomes a part of your life journey, and it's best to accept it as being a companion on said journey.  Not so long ago I would have seen this as a bad thing, but as I gain more and more of an understanding of grief, I accept it with open arms.  Yes the bad days suck.  They hurt and fill me with anger and make me want to shut out the entire world, but whilst ever grief is by my side, it's a reminder that my Mum existed and she mattered.  It reminds me how lucky I am to love somebody so deeply that their absence hurts this much.

I'm going to end this with post here with a quote that I have in print.  It helps me, and I hope it will help anybody else suffering a significant loss too...

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard".


  1. A beautiful post, I'm so sorry for your loss and glad to hear that you seem to be remaining strong! I recently received bad news and one of the emotions that has shocked me the most is how angry I feel. I started to become very angry at the world and looking at everyone taking things they have for granted.

    I really hope that you continue on this positive path you've taken on, and I'm sure that in time the anger will slowly dissipate into gratitude for the time you did have with your mum. Wishing you all the best xxx


    1. Thank you Rachel. Grief is a funny thing, and I can totally relate to you getting angry at people taking things and people for granted. I still feel that quite strongly even now. I have to take regular breaks from social media when I see people being unnecessarily nasty to one another over the pettiest of things because I just can't help but think there are so many more awful things going on in the world!

      I'm sorry to hear you've had such bad news too. If you ever need to talk to somebody, I'm always happy to listen xx


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