Living with grief means that I often sit outside of myself and reflect on my troubled mind. I’ve recognised that my thoughts surrounding my grief are two-fold: I need to deal with the trauma, the post-traumatic stress, from both mine and Abi’s perspective.
First there are my ‘selfish’ thoughts about what happened to ME, a mother suddenly losing her 12-year-old daughter, and then I need to try to comprehend what has happened to HER, the physical pain and reality of the life leaving her body, separating her from all she has ever known.
My life was going OK. We’d spent the year, 2012, focusing on our family time. Keeping busy with our three children and hoping for a fourth. We’d had a great year together, consciously putting a stop to the bustle of life which had started to consume us, and working hard on making special memories with the children.
We’d been to a pop concert, taken a few short holidays, seen a royal wedding up close, followed the Olympic torch, visited the Winter Wonderland in London (all things we would not have bothered to do before), as well making more time for each other at home. I’ll be eternally grateful that we did that.
My trauma relates to the loss of that carefree family life as well as the obvious trauma of Abi’s death. Things will never be the same again in my family, nor should they.
Life has changed. We have changed.
On Mother’s Day, I looked on as my children played with their dad at the park, while I sat with our baby, and I felt sick with sorrow. Despite seeing them having fun, the dynamic was all wrong… it always would be. I could sense Abi near us, she was running around with them, happy, laughing. She was there … but not there.
But as well as grieving for myself, I need to grieve for Abi, to miss her and long for her life back. To feel that sorrow from her point of view. The poor child who so wanted to live, who didn’t think death was anywhere near her, who had so many plans for the future. Her life, her breath, her vitality just stopped. Dead.
I suppose, in time, this heavy weight of emotion will all be unpicked by therapists, but I’m not strong enough yet to go there, not least because I’m sleep deprived and weary.
Writing, I know, will help in the interim. Writing helps the bereaved immensely, because we don’t talk about it – either so we don’t upset other people or so we don’t upset ourselves… the face is always a brave one. Death is taboo and grief is personal so, for those of us who do it, writing about our experiences and feelings helps to save us from ourselves.