Grief takes you on one hell of a journey, and it ain’t pleasant. I have recently lost someone extremely special in my life, my Nanna and whilst I feel I am getting back on my feet, talking about how I have been feeling does help and for anyone else experiencing similar emotions, this is to let you know, you are not alone.
Sadly there is no manual for how to deal with pure heartbreak and I won’t be one of those annoying people who at your darkest days says, “Time is a great healer,” but what I will say is that every single day, it gets that tiny bit better.
My Nanna was an amazing lady, she showed me what 93 wonderful years of life looks like. She was heavily involved in raising me from a nipper to who I am today. Her grit, determination and zest for life consumed me in buckets. So when suddenly she was no longer there, I panicked.
Let me tell you, a whole range of emotions parachuted in from nowhere. From shock to devastation, anger to confusion. All with an overwhelming feeling of despondency. Sleep was impossible, I was scared of dreaming and even worse, waking to feel for just a few seconds that everything was normal, only to remember, it wasn’t.
I became a recluse, needing comfort and safety. I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. Words of support came flooding in but acknowledging them meant admitting this was real and I would cry all over again. I wanted to hide under the duvet and pretend none of it was happening. One text I do remember receiving was the beginning of the rebuild, “It’s absolutely ok to give in to feeling, quite frankly, completely shit.”
Little Miss Positive Pants had done one, she had abandoned me and I knew it. I struggled with finding them and I knew Nanna would, whilst I am sure be touched I cared so much, would also have one hell of an opinion about the depths of despair I found myself in.
She said to me once, “Life is a gift,” which is where I think my desire to maximise every second of my life comes from. My perspective slowly started to change, my coffee cup was half full instead of completely and utterly empty. I was blessed for everything I have and for who I am today, everything I have worked hard to achieve and the awesome support which came riding in like white knights.
I needed to regain the zest for life, grit and determination I was brought up to have. I found lovely photos of Nanna and dotted them around the apartment. I also needed this to feel like she was still with me. She always said, “Love you lots,” whether it be on the phone or in letters she wrote so I decided to transfer her beautiful handwriting of these words to look at always…yes I got a tattoo! (I won’t lie, that hurt like hell!).
I think what I am trying to say is that everyone deals with grief differently, there is no right or wrong way to get through it. So whatever you need to do, is right for you and is absolutely ok.
I still break down at unexpected times as a sudden memory hits me or I feel guilty (and I do feel terribly guilty at times) for realising I have forgotten she isn’t here. It could be as a result of being immersed in work or watching a movie and then the remorse and shame engulf me as I feel I should be crying and feeling dreadful. I battle with myself constantly but it’s all part of the process I guess.
My coping mechanisms were telling myself, it’s ok to feel like shit, it’s ok to take time out and be alone, it’s ok to time out from work and it really is ok to accept help.
But most of all, it’s important to be kind to yourself. If you want to eat pizza do it, if you want to lie in bed all day having a Netflix binge do it.
And for anyone who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, you are not alone.