This blog post is the most personal and real one yet for me. Whilst this blog is 100% honest and genuine, I want this blog to be a complete reflection of me, and this topic is a huge part of my life and identity. I want to stress that this is not a blog post written for pity or sympathy, merely to draw awareness to issues that I have faced and also send a little appreciation to those with, who have had, or who have lost someone through cancer. This post is incredibly hard for me, its raw and its real, but I want people to understand that I do not sit and repress my feelings, nor do I live in resentment for what I have been through.
On the 4th of November it was the 3rd anniversary of my mums passing. The thought of her makes my heart ache. She was genuinely the most incredible friend, partner, sister, mother, daughter and any other connection she had with someone. She was witty, clever, caring, beautiful, loving and every other positive attribute I can possibly think of, she was genuinely all of them. Her passing was the hardest thing that I have ever experienced, it changed my life and affects me in so many ways, both good and bad. When she first passed I was angry, hurt and upset that I had had my mother taken away from me. I couldn’t understand what I, her or anyone else had done to deserve it. But now I no longer reflect on the fact that it was unfair, for it will always be unfair, it will always remain unjustified and unexplained. Now I reflect on the positive lessons it has taught me, the person is forced me to become and instead I often reflect on the incredible memories we shared together.
This is my mum (and doggy, Barney), she was 56 when she passed away, she died of a brain tumour on Tuesday the 4th of November 2014 at 4.23pm.
I would give anything to see her one last time, to hear her speak or to have one last drive with her to the bus stop in the morning before school. But the fact is I can’t. For me, my reality is that I can never ask her for advice, call her in times of need or cry on her shoulder, but what I can do is be this person for other people. I think my experience has encouraged a lot of people to confide in me and to trust me and my advice. I get great satisfaction from helping others and making their lives easier, a characteristic I definitely got from my parents (mum, dad and Neil). This is the first thing that losing someone so dear has taught me, compassion. I am such a thoughtful, compassionate and caring person, constantly thinking about other people, I genuinely adore anyone that I am close to and would do anything for anyone. Selflessness is often hard to choose, but watching my stepdad, Neil, put my mum before himself in every way possible definitely reminds me that it is always the right decision to make.
One thing that often comes from such an experience is the ability to feel alone, like no one understands you, your experiences and feelings. I feel like sometimes my mum’s absence affects me without me realising, be it an unexpected sad day, or being really sensitive to something. This can often be misunderstood by others as a failure in my character. I don’t expect other people to understand, nor do I expect them to know what to say, but sometimes this can be extremely frustrating. However, I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by friends that love me and do their best to understand what I have been through. I genuinely do not know what I would do without such a strong support system, my best friends Kate, Zoe and Bea are always so understanding and respectful and for that, I am so so grateful.
One thing that I struggle with is being around people that moan about their parents. I have been in several situations where people who are new to me or forgetful about my situation, tend to moan about their mums and how ‘annoying’ they are. Whilst I can completely understand parents can be frustrating (don’t worry, not all the time Daddy!), the sheer lack of appreciation for how lucky they are really is something that upsets me. I can honestly say that there is nothing that my mum used to do that used to annoy me that I remember now, which makes me realise that such insignificant annoyances are unimportant. Just stop reading for a moment, and think about a time where you got annoyed or angry with a parent, friend or relative, reflect on what I just said and consider the possibility of never seeing that person again, do you think you’d always remember what they did that annoyed you? Would you always remember and resent them for it? If the answer is no, then maybe consider this blog post next time they do something ‘wrong’ and ask yourself the same question. If the answer is again, no, then maybe take a different approach to the situation. Maybe don’t get angry with them, maybe let it go and move on. Anyway, back to what I was saying. Whilst what I previously mentioned is something that frustrates and upsets me, I know that it is due to a lack of awareness to the fragility of life and the way we often take for granted those who are there with us, not appreciating what we have until it is gone. So to those who moan about their parents, get annoyed at them doing silly things, I genuinely hope that this will stick with you, and that it will enhance your life and the way you see situations, remember that your parents are doing their best, be patient.
Christmas is always a really hard time of year for me. It has never and will never be the same now that she has gone. Christmas is a time for loving and being around your family and I can’t help but feel her absence stronger than ever over this period. But it is her loss that has made me appreciate those in my life so much more, I care about the people in my life more than ever and am not afraid to show them and make them aware of their importance and worth to me. Life really is too short to stay angry at someone or fall out with people. Whilst losing someone has made me incredibly sensitive, I try so hard to make others happy and keep strong, positive relationships with those around me.
One of the effects losing my mum has had on me that is both good and bad, is that I am very afraid of losing people. It is natural that the loss of someone so significant will change the way you see people and their impact on your life. It is a positive in the sense that I will do whatever is in my power to keep them happy, safe and close to me, but also that this can sometimes lead to feeling insecure in need of reassurance which can be difficult to combat and explain.
One of the most valuable lessons that I have learnt is the rational view on life and death. I think there is such a fear around death and the end of life, to the point where it is almost taboo to speak of. Whilst I know more than most how hard goodbyes are, I can now look at death as not the end of the road, but merely a turning in the road, with the person going off in a different direction to you, meeting again later on. Whilst not everyone is spiritual or believes in the afterlife, I believe that we will all meet again one day, and this really does help me in times of sadness. When I lost my grandparents I was able to look at the situation with a clear and rational mind. With both of them having far progressed dementia, I saw their passing’s as the end of suffering, going on to a better and positive existence elsewhere, with their daughter(my mummy).
This blog post is not a negative space, I want to share both the positive and negative impacts her absence has had on my life. Whilst her absence is heart-breaking and unfair, I am genuinely a person that I am proud of and I know she would be too. I live such a full, happy and loving life, one that I am so grateful for. I am grateful for everyone within it, the opportunities I am given and the lessons I am learning, I genuinely feel like I am a positive influence on so many peoples lives and this is massively down to the experiences I have been through. I don’t say thank you enough but I am so incredibly grateful to my dad, for acting as both parents to me. You genuinely are the best parent I could ask for and you try so hard to give me everything that I need and want, I appreciate you and all your hard work so much. I am grateful for Neil and his amazing family, for continuing our relationship together and seeing me as part of the family always, I am so lucky to be a part of your family. To Mat and his family, for again, completely accepting me into your family, for loving me, including me and always making me feel so welcome, I don’t know how I went 18 years of life without you crazy bunch. For Andrea, for always being there when I need her, you are such an inspiration to me and I adore you. To the rest of my family and friends, you’re all amazing and you make my life incredible.
I hope that this post has increased people’s awareness to the issue of people living without parents or other significant people. It most definitely changed my life, for some good reasons and some bad, but I am such a better person because of this experience. I miss my mum more than words could ever explain, it’s something that I will never get over, but my life is so worth living and her guidance and love facilitates and enhances it. If anyone reading this has or is going through something similar, just know that you are not alone, you are so strong and that none of this is your fault.
Life is not infinite and therefore everyday should be respected and made the most out of. Instead of being fearful over the end of someone’s life, we should instead live in the current moment, revel in the current day. Practice the appreciation for the life you share with others, choose positive thoughts over negative thoughts, regardless of how hard that may seem to do. I truly believe that one day I will be with her again, laughing together and continuing our connection, but until then I will miss you every day mummy.
As I’m sure you can tell this is a very sensitive subject for me, so please be kind and respectful. I hope that this has drawn your awareness to the subject of people losing someone and how to and to not act around them. I am sure that no one expects others to tread on eggshells, but sometimes a small bit of consideration and thought goes a long way. Just because someone who has lost someone does not cry, talk about it or even tell everyone, does not take away what they have been through and the effects this has had and will have on them. I also hope this has taught you a bit about appreciation, maybe just to text your mum or dad to tell them that you love them, or to make more effort with them. We are all here temporarily, make the most out of it. Live, laugh, learn and love endlessly.
Until next time,
P.S. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer, yet there is little funding that goes into brain tumour research, I would one day love to see the end to brain tumours to ensure no one goes through what my mum and my family did. Here’s a couple of websites that will tell you more about brain tumours with links to donate if you wish.