Why Do Milestones Hurt So Much?

When someone dies, it is so tempting to keep our lives just how our person would remember them.

We stitch ourselves into place in our new lives, as we lived in their old memories, because that’s how we want to live. The way we last were with them. We may try to do Christmas and birthdays the way they showed us, or they we developed with them. It’s not the same, of course it’s not, but it makes us feel a little bit more safe sometimes.

I think it’s because the last time we remember feeling secure and happy was when we lived with them; when ‘death’ was a far-off concept that would happen 10, 20, 30 years down the road, when we could ‘deal’ with it. Can anyone know how to deal with death? Is there ever a good time to die?

One book is symbolic for my grief and how I view Mum now, and that’s the Lovely Bones. It’s quite brutal at times, but overall, its perceptive and unique. It helped me a lot in 2019. In the Lovely Bones, Susie’s parents keep the light on in the porch, just in case she was to come home. It is an instinctual hope in us to believe they are not gone, that they will never be gone.

How can they be?

For people my age, who’s mum, guardian or dad is still alive, they say they can’t imagine it. 

For many of us, we live in hope because those who have lost someone still can’t comprehend it.

When I moved to my new city, I would day dream that Mum would come stumbling up to my old house and knock on the door. Only, the new tenants would be there. We would get a phone call from our old neighbour, who would be in complete shock, and we would jump in our cars or get on our trains and all convene at the centre of the universe, and stare in amazement at this miracle.

It’s crazy that when I blew out my birthday candles at Peter’s I still expected the walls to slide down, an applause to be sounded, and Mum to walk out in a lab coat saying “you did it girls! This was all just a social experiment and you passed!”


Milestones hurt so much because the walls stay up. The phone stays silent, and we are confronted with the grief reality.

Inevitably, we cannot live how we lived because we are so different now; we have new aspects of our personality, or new friends joined to us because of our shared loss. 

And, I wouldn’t change it. 

I wouldn’t change it if it meant Mum was not fully healthy and fully happy. She is safe now, and so is Katie and I. My heart will break a thousand more times with every milestone, big or small, but is it not just the most powerful form of love?

I don’t have any answers, I can only think aloud. Thank you for giving me this voice when some don’t want to hear it.

You are so loved.


There’s a place I go
When I’m alone,
Do anything I want;
Be anyone I wanna be.
But it is us I see.

Dream Catch Me, Newton Faulkener

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10 thoughts on “Why Do Milestones Hurt So Much?

    1. I think when your grief ages you realise and understand why somethings happen, and that it doesnt have to be the end of ‘you’ as well. Thank you for your comment Sean 🙂

  1. I identify with the article. Mine was a sudden loss which broke my heart in two with showing no signs of illness. Everyone’s story is different as said but either way watching someone suffer a dreadful long time is dreadful and naturally a shock when it happens. Suddenly and unexpected is also dreadful. So honest and true article. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

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