Once upon a different life to stand in my grief was to stand in a box that I was never expected to outgrow. Suspended at 23, frozen by the shock of what it really meant to lose.
Grief was an alien experience, it was a language unknown. It was to stand in fear and resentment for a life I didn’t choose. It was crying so much, I never thought it possible to laugh again. It was sleepless nights questioning reasons to live, in a dark and ever empty house without my mum.
3 years later, I still feel fear and the weight of anxiety over what the future holds. I still feel the pain from past traumas. Much of the last week as we were approaching mum’s birthday and anniversary I have been wading through a thick tar and found myself crying in many places: on the bus, when I moved house, in the car, on a video call, in a cafe, in the car again, in a restaurant, while meditating, while doing yoga, on top of a hill and on top of another big hill.
But today, grief has a different meaning. Today, to stand in my grief is to stand in my power, to hold hands with my grief, to educate about grief and to advocate for myself with a new language rather than recoil in silence and sadness. Grief is to miss life with my mum but to continue living it anyway.
26 is turning out to be, without a doubt, one of the best years of my life – a year of complete introspection. A year of gratitude, another year of healing and a year of love.
There is a spring in my step and a peace in my heart when I smile to strangers on the street. I walk to my lectures through a city I have fallen in love with, excited for everything I wish to achieve here. I make plans far bigger than I ever thought possible. It’s in these moments that it hits me – ‘This feeling right here, Katie, this is why you didn’t give up’.
Our mum passed away 3 years ago today, and yesterday was her 57th birthday. Evee and I are settled for a couple of days at mine, hidden away and safe. The weather was beautiful just as Mum always said it was on her birthday. Evee and I drove to the peaks and were taken aback by the beautiful views. We cried and we laughed. Our hearts ache for the reality we knew before, but are full of gratitude for the lives we lead now that nights are no longer sleepless. Although we grieve, I could write an entire book on reasons to live.
Our story was a sad one, robbed of the greatest love we will ever know. It was a story of heartbreak and grief and that’s where I thought it ended. Today, our story continues into one of growth, of love, of grief. I love my life even if my mum isn’t in it physically anymore. I love my life because my mum was in it, and it was real and beautiful.
And from the bottom of my heart to every single person who has helped me to get here, thank you. I never knew life could be like this for me, I’m just so grateful I stuck around to see it.
This is a post of gratitude, and one of hope. I am so sorry if you come to our blog because you know the pain of losing people you love. I am so sorry that we have to “meet” through our greatest loss and loneliness. Ironically, after nearly 3 years of writing here, I know that no amount of words would ever be enough to soothe your pain.
I remember it was 6 months to the day of Mum passing away, that The Grief Reality began gaining traction. People starting sharing their stories. The penny dropped for me in that moment when I realised that people actually live with their grief. I didn’t know how we were going to do it, I just knew we would. And I hope that this blog and all of the As Told By You submissions gives you that same hope.
Evee and I often say “we are not a glum lot” on this blog and it’s true. We aren’t. We are happy, kind compassionate, free. We laugh, we learn and we get up everyday. We have good friends and big plans for the future, and we grieve.
All my love to you,
If you would like to see how we spent yesterday : https://www.instagram.com/reel/CTkyt-pjpMD/?utm_medium=copy_link
A few photos taken over the last year: