8.08.2015

DEALING WITH LOSS



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Hey Guys, this is not my usual type of post. This is a very personal topic for me and I feel like this needs to be said. If you have been reading my blog since the beginning you may remember me briefly mentioning how my Mum passed away. I never went into depth with this as it was still very raw for me. And it still is, but I feel ready to write this post now. For both me and my Mum.
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I started blogging shortly just before my Mum was diagnosed with lung cancer. But she was given two months to live after her diagnosis. At the time I started blogging, she was sick. Very sick. She would go to the doctor and beg for help and she was given more and more tablets but no answers, and she just got worse and worse. Today marks one year since my Mum passed away, and I have written this in advance to be posted on the 8th of August.

My Mum was my best friend. I have never been a social butterfly and never will be. I like to be around people and it makes me happy to be around friends. But it takes energy out of me. So I have always had one or two close friends, nothing more. And these people would change as I grew up and moved around. My Mum was always a constant - I would rather sit with her all night and watch silly movies and binge on junk food than go to any club or night out. I thought it was much more fun. And I do not regret it at all, I have spent more time with my Mum than most people will spend with theirs in a lifetime. And I love that I can say that.

My Mum was my shopping buddy, gym partner, best friend, advice giver, part time GP, pillow to cry on, occasional bitch and a better parent than I could ever imagine. When I say "best friend" I understand that a lot of people say that about their Mums. But as I said before, I find it hard to get close to people so when she died. I lost my only friend. 

I could spend a long time writing about how much my Mum meant to me, trying to prove how much I cared and still care for her now. But I think some things are best kept for me to enjoy, some memories just for myself.

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This post is how I dealt and how I am still dealing with my Mum passing. I am doing this both for myself and for anyone going through a similar situation. If you get bored of my rants, please check out the links below of places that I found useful.

When I found out my Mum was dieing I spent hours researching into how I would feel when she was gone, what to do to help my health and how to deal with the situation. If I am honest. None of that stuff even came close to how it would feel and what it would be like.

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When my Mum told me on the phone that the was coming back from hospital, I knew something was wrong. I left class and got on the first train from Blackpool to my home town, crying all the way.

I had already built myself up for the worst having had to see my Mum deal with a cough for two months until she was in so much pain that she had to take herself to A&E when the doctors wouldn't help her anymore. I knew what was coming. When she sat me down and told me she had two months to live it was still a shock. It didn't feel real. This is something that happens in movies, not in my life. "Is this a joke?" was the first thing I said, nervously laughing. After I had come to realise that it was actually happening. My Mum was going to disappear, and I had no control over it.

That weekend I spent the whole time crying. I tried to hide it from my Mum as much as possible but one day she caught me hiding under the covers bawling my eyes out. She was the strongest person I have ever met and to be able to sit with me that day and have a full on conversation about life and death and everything in between, I felt much better.

When my Mum was diagnosed the first thing I did was to buy John Greens - The Fault In Our Stars My Mum told me off for reading "depressing books" but it honestly was not depressing. The book shines a light on the situation and lets you see the good as well as all the bad.The book is very blunt. And I am not recommending everyone read it, but for me it helped. A quote that both me and my Mum loved from this book summed up our relationship perfectly. This was read out by my cousins on behalf of me at my Mum's funeral.

"You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful."

One thing that I got from the book is that you can still laugh, my Mum was not a zombie. When she couldn't walk she had to have a wheelchair with a bottle of oxygen on the back when she needed it. One day we went shopping in Liverpool, just the two of us and after a day of me pushing around a grown woman in a wheelchair my Mum joked " I think you need the oxygen more than me!" Little things like this make the situation much better for everyone. 

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 A friend of mine said how he found it "weird" how I acted completely normal, as if nothing was, or had happened at all. I could and can speak about my Mum easily and completely get on with things as normal. I was on the other side of the country when my Mum died. I was in London on a placement and I took one day off only. When I came in the next day I was asked if I should be in. I carried on as normal.

When my Mum was diagnosed I was doing my final major project in university, the biggest project of all three years to earn me the biggest chunk of my grade. I found out my Mum had cancer, and when straight back into university the next week, I worked the hardest that I ever had. It was pretty much do as much as I could so I didn't have to think about what was going on. Nothing was wrong, just lock it up in a box and deal with it later. 

As much as this is a very bad thing to do, at the time I needed to. I needed to pass my exams (which I did, I got a 1:1) I needed to see my Mum as quickly as I could and have quality time with her, so I put everything into that project. 

I saved my crying and breakdowns till when I was alone, I spoke to a couple of my Mum's nurses, my boyfriend and of course my Mum, she was unbelievably brave and compared how I was feeling to her own experiences of her Mum passing, and things that helped her she answered as many of my questions as she could, honestly, bluntly and openly. I feel in these situations being 100% honest is the best thing you can do.

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The words "It's not fair" left my mouth more times than I can count. I blamed a lot of people. I blamed Doctors, Nurses, Family, Friends. And I still do think that their are situations which something could of gave her one more day. How come it took two months to diagnose a bad cough? Why did the nurses leave the cut to get infected and unclean? How come the people that were seeing my Mum every day didn't drag her to A&E or the Doctors? Why did a "friend" try to get her to die at home when she was much safer and more comfortable in hospital? I still think these things a lot soon they will fully disappear, but for now that is where I am at with it.

The best way I felt for me to get rid of my anger / confusion was speaking to people. I spoke to two nurses who were great! Do not feel embarrassed to speak to a nurse. You can break down in front of them and completely open up and get rid of all the weight you carry. I remember the feeling of stress I was going through with my Mum. It was like my head was filled with junk. Talking to someone, for me, helped to clean my head and I left the room feeling a lot lighter.

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I am slowly getting closer to acceptance everyday. I understand that it will take a long, long time until I am fully at peace with what happened. But seeing how far I have come in the past year a lone inspires me to keep working towards it everyday.

All I can say for anyone going through this is you will not be sad all the time. Yes you will have a weight on your that you will carry around, every day it gets the tiniest bit lighter. There is no happy and sad, just a roller coaster. I am still waiting to see how long it's going to be until I can get off. It will get better and worse and better again. After a while the bumps start to even out and it gets much easier. Trust me.

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MAKE MEMORIES
I took tons of pictures and videos of my Mum, I wrote lists about her favourites and little things so that I could remember as much as I could. My biggest fear was forgetting her, so these are backed up a million times on everything I own. Me and my Mum tried to do a lot of things too, watching movies, going shopping and just going to the park, some of these memories of my Mum are my favourite of her.

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FIND AN OUTLET
I started to blog, even though this is the first (huge) post I have done about my Mum having an outlet is great, something to put your energy into. Writing, drawing, singing, sports, anything you can think of. If it makes you happy, then do it.

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LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Your physical and mental health are both linked together more closely than you think, get a good nights sleep, eat well, exercise. Pretty much all the basics effects your mood.

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MAKE AN EFFORT
This seems like a silly one but dressing up nice, doing your make-up and wearing your favourite perfume can always make you feel a bit better and it did for me. Poor hygiene and not taking care of yourself is sign of depression, so I fought this full on ha ha. It's not guaranteed to make you not get depression, mental illness doesn't work that way, but every little helps.

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MEDITATE
This was a huge thing for me, I spoke about how talking can clear your head, and meditation and yoga both can too. Even though it's a lot less effective than speaking to someone it is great to do as well. I still do this now as I like how relaxed I feel afterwards.

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HAVE FUN
As much as I say I am not a social butterfly, I always thought I would sit in a room on my own throughout the whole grieving period. It was very much the opposite. I flung myself into social situations, I spent more time with family and friends and spent more time outside. Do what makes you feel good. Cry as much as you need to and as long as you are healthy and dealing with what is going on in your way. That should be good enough. Everyone deals with death very differently. Some people clash over it. Some people are religious (a lot of people are in my family) and some people aren't... Like me.

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Make sure to respect every ones believes and opinions and to listen to each other. If there is someone more vulnerable than you in the situation, either a family member or friend. Make sure they are comfortable with big decisions, everyone has the same rights in these situation, no one except the person who is dying has more of a right than the other. It's all about protecting peoples feelings in these situations and not being selfish. Their was a lot of things that I feel could of been handled a lot better in my Mums situation regarding myself and my health. But with the friends that I had around me I was able to get myself out of certain situations that I was not comfortable or ready with. 

And everyone should be respectful of that.

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 There are a couple things that still linger on me with my Mum's death, things that I did on purpose. Every time I left the room I would tell her I love her, because I wanted her to know that, and I didn't want to be the last thing I said to her to be something stupid. The worst thing of it all is having the last memory of my Mum alive. Having to leave her to go to a placement (she would of killed me if I didn't go) was horrible. Knowing that it would be the last time I would see my Mum alive, the last time I would be able to hug her, kiss her and see her smile is something that I will never be able to describe... I am very happy with them, but just being able to remember them in such detail is something different.

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I hope anyone dealing with a similar situation has been helped by this long blog post. I am not a doctor or medical professional so everything that I mentioned is just what helped me. If you have any more questions please go and speak to your doctor. It is not silly and you are not wasting any ones time.

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