Monday, 20 November 2017

Losing My Mum | One Year On

One year.

One whole year since my Mum passed away.

It feels both long, but not long at all since I lived that absolute nightmare of a weekend.  In one sense it feels like a lifetime ago since I was sat by her side in the hospital bed, not allowing the grief to consume me.  Not allowing myself to break when I knew I had so much to sort out.  Yet at the same time it only feels like yesterday.  The words you wish you never have to hear, that your Mum isn't going to survive by the doctor ring just as loud in my head now as they did the very night he said them to me.  The phone calls I has to make to family, friends, informing my Mum's manager that she will not be returning to work.  I went in to organisation mode, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember her funeral like it only happened a week ago.  The absolute gut wrenching feeling in my stomach as the hearse rounded the corner to her house, and knowing that my Mum was in that coffin.  The shock I felt when we arrived at the chapel at the sheer amount of people stood outside, waiting to pay their respects to my Mum, then feeling myself almost break with an overwhelming feeling when we walked inside the chapel, following closely behind my Mum, to see that there were even more people waiting inside for her.  The sea of East Midlands Trains uniforms stood there waiting for her was the moment I cracked.  My Mum was a manager at Sheffield Train Station, and was very well thought of by her staff.  I'd be surprised if there were even any staff left to run the station for the time my Mum's service was happening, there were so many of them who came along.

Following on from the funeral I had months of sorting my Mum's affairs.  My Mum never made a will, and trust me when I say it drags the process of everything out a hell of a lot more.  I had no solicitors to help me, it was just me, myself and I, making decisions I never dreamed of having to make at only 30 years old.  I still have multiple copies of my Mum's death certificate as I had to prove to so many people that she was no longer with us in order to get accounts closed, finances moved over.  I had to write statement after statement explaining why, as her eldest daughter certain aspects of her life and finances should be moved over in to my name, then asking family members to fill in more statements to show they supported my statement.

It was a long, drawn out process that sucked a lot out of me mentally.

The day before my Mum's funeral I went to see her one last time at the chapel of rest.  I had some time on my own with her, and I promised her two things.  That I will always look after my sister, and I will do everything in my power to make her the most proud Mum in the entire world.

If I'm honest I'm not sure if I've done all that much to make her proud this past year.  I've put my absolute all in to making sure my sister is ok and helping her through this past year, that in all honesty my own needs have taken a back seat.  I've barely spent time on my hobbies, and if anything I've spent the time I have had free just being numb to everything around me.  I've become somewhat of a pro at distracting my mind.

I'm finally accepting that maybe that's what I've needed over the past few months especially, and I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  I spent many, many months sorting a lot behind the scenes.  I took everything in the aftermath of my Mum's death on myself so nobody else had to deal with it.  It literally stretched my mental capacity to it's limits and beyond.  There were days I just wanted to hide away from it all.  Hoping that if I ignored it, it would just go away, but the adult in me pushed me through the barriers and kept me going.  When it finally came to an end, and everything started to feel settled again, I think my head had earned itself a well deserved rest.

I've dreaded the year mark.  I feel like I'm no longer the woman who's "Just lost her Mum", and I know I haven't, but I can't say the pain has faded all that much in that time.  However, it's been 365 whole days now, and I know people's patience starts to wear thin with grief, especially if they haven't experienced it themselves.  You're expected to pick yourself back up and just get back on with life after a little while, as if your life hasn't changed forever.  And you do have to keep going, because in the end, you have to.  I'm doing my best, but it's hard to keep going sometimes, especially when there is a huge part of you missing, and sometimes I just wish some people could understand this.

My Dad told me something that has stuck with me, especially as I've now experienced it, and it has allowed me to feel less guilt about how much my Mum's death has affected me. When my Nan passed away, my Dad told me that as a child, losing your Mum is the hardest loss you will ever suffer in your life.  Obviously when he told me this, none of us could ever have predicted that 16 months later my Mum would pass away, but I'm glad that he shared that with me, because he's right.  he's so right.  I'm only 30, but I've suffered many losses in this time.  I've lost three grandparents, countless Aunty's and Uncles, a cousin, and my best friend who was only 22.  All have been awful, but if I'm honest, I've never felt a pain quite like this.  There's no denying that there is a bond there between mother and child that is unlike any other you will ever develop with anybody else.  Certainly in my opinion anyway.

The fact that my Dad said that to me helps me to validate that feeling.  I know it's true, and no doubt anybody who has ever lost their Mum knows it's true too, but knowing somebody else feels the same helps me when people who are yet to suffer that loss think I'm being over dramatic.

So my plan going forward?

I want to stop distracting my mind.  I've spent enough time doing that.  I want to find my motivation again, and I want to work on becoming a better version of myself again, like we always should be doing.  I feel like I've pressed the pause button on life a little this past year.  On one hand it's done me a lot of good.  It's given me some head space, and it's made me realise some things.  It's made me see I take too much on and try and do everything, when in fact I need to free up some time to do some of the things I love, and also relax.  It's made me realise that I like my time to myself, and as much as I love spending time with loved ones, I need time on my own to recuperate, because some days are harder than others, and having to pull myself together on the harder days and go about life as normal can sometimes be really draining.  Mostly though it's made me see just how much I want to live my life.  I want to make the most of whatever time I have here.

Finally, I want to take this time to thank everybody who has been there always, but especially over this past year.  First and foremost to Spencer, who has taken a lot of backlash from me on the harder days and stuck by me throughout.  To my sister, for giving me reason to keep going on the tough days.  I made a promise to Mum and I intend to keep it. To my Dad, and the rest of my family and friends for propping me up when I haven't had the energy to hold myself up.  The fact that some of my friends had never even met my Mum, but still came to the funeral to support me still blows my mind.  And I know how tough this past year has been on some of my immediate family.  To say we're not your typical 2.4 family is a bit of an understatement, so I appreciate how hard this has been on some family members, and I appreciate more how much you have stuck by me.

And now, I invite anybody who knew my Mum (Or who didn't, you're welcome to as well!) to raise a glass to her today in her memory.  For anybody who's wondering her favourite drink was a pint of lager and lime (Classy lady!), or Southern Comfort, so by all means if you want to follow in her footsteps knock yourself out, but I'll be sticking to a glass of something bubbly, mainly because I hate lager and Southern Comfort!


  1. Hope today hasn't been too tough for you Siobhan. Raising my glass here to you both tonight xx

    1. I'm so behind on all my blog stuff after being away. Thank you so much for this message. It was a weird day in all honesty. I wasn't sure how I felt about it and still don't really. I still can't quite believe it's been over a year now already xxx


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