• Laura

What comes after death?

For everyone what comes in those first few months after a loved one has died will be completely different. Some will continue with their normal life as if nothing has happened, others will spend months in bed spending every minute thinking about the person they’ve lost. Some will do neither and have their own way of coping. For me, I look back on the time after my mum died 2 years ago and barely remember, I often look at pictures to see what it was actually like but we all know that pictures don’t show the whole truth, only part of it.

The initial first few weeks it’s all about planning the funeral, so is usually quite a busy time. It’s when you have messages, calls from friends, family and anyone who you may have crossed paths with in your lifetime who have also reached out. But after the funeral is when everything becomes quiet, you no longer have as many calls, as many messages of people checking up on you and how you’re coping. It’s quiet, it’s when you’re left alone with your thoughts and you have to start to rebuild your life, getting back to work, college or school. My Dad and Brother both had long term jobs before my mum died, I on the other hand was at college preparing for uni and approaching my final exams. My mum was off work for a year and a half with cervical cancer, and I was at college the whole time which was only 3 days a week. So I spent my days off with my mum, going for coffees, just days indoors watching films and everything else that comes with everyday life. When she died I had all that time alone, and no matter who was with me it was lonely. I used to get up and my mum and I would do our makeup and get ready for the day together, that was one of the biggest things I missed. That was the start of my day for so long that I felt lost every morning after she died. I could no longer go and sit in her room and do my make up and talk about nothing. It’s those simple conversations that serve no purpose at the time other than to fill the blank noise that I missed most. My house was quiet, it had lost all life and I couldn't do a simple activity without thinking about her.

It’s so hard to write about the finer details when those finer details from that time are blurry. I know I didn't leave my house for the first month, maybe even two as nowhere felt comfortable. Sleeping was the biggest battle for me. I’ve never slept well, but this time I was waking up in the middle of the night, every night having had a nightmare. However if you saw me during that time you’d never have known the pain I was going through, I’d like to think I hid that well, why? I'm not too sure. The days are the blurry part, what I did with myself I’m not sure. The nights and mornings were most prominent. My grief didn’t just affect me mentally, it took hold of me physically. That’s when my migraines started, and they have been something I have suffered with ever since.

The problem with people is that we have an idea of how we would like things to go before they actually happen and more often than not they don’t go the way we’d hoped. That was what happened for me. People who were so important in my life slowly faded into the background, I lost so many people in my grief, but I have gained friendships with people I know will be with me for a lifetime. Trying to look back and speak of a time that is almost alien to me now is the hard part, I have been on one crazy journey and the scary thing is, it hasn't ended yet and it never will. My grief will be with me forever and that girl who was so scared of it back then, has taught herself how to accept it.

I hope you, who are reading this right now, have learnt how to accept your grief too, and if you haven’t yet, one day, even if it’s in 10 years from now, you will. There is no timeline, and I know I’m nowhere near ready, but I'm learning. That’s all we can do, is learn and grow into a completely new version of ourselves.

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