Reality Revisited: “You look taller”

First posted in October 2019. We have grown so much more than we ever thought we would, and we want to share our earlier posts. We aim to reflect on the early struggles of our grief, and what we went through without our mum. We are proud of where we have come from, and of where we are going. We hope you are as well.

If you are struggling with your grief, that is okay. You are not alone.


“You look taller” a family friend said to me as she opened her arms for a hug. 

“I feel taller” I replied, I felt lighter too. 


With the pressure of timing medicines, taking temperatures, ensuring that my mum would keeping drinking, and, knowing that, if my mum needed anything in the night, I’d be there first, there was absolutely no room for mistakes in my life.

I felt like I was the one who picked up the slack when people cracked under the pressure. I expected other people to let us down. My role was confirmed with the constant questions about what medicines Mum had taken and when, knowing that I was the only one with the answers. I grew angry and exhausted when others were late picking up prescriptions or when someone else couldn’t make hospital appointments with me.

“Katie doesn’t make mistakes”. I used to say it so frequently that I didn’t realise how unaware I was to the lasting scars that those words were inflicting. Scars that were never able to fully heal before I inevitably said it again. Also, what these words sounded like to other people, the distance and the pressure cooker atmosphere they created.

After my mum passed away, I continued living the only way I knew how and now put pressure into other areas of my life like exercise, university work, keeping the house exactly how Mum did, being a perfect girlfriend and big sister.

But I couldn’t be. I couldn’t keep up. And, what’s the point? What does it matter if we sleep in, or if I don’t go swimming one day. This perfect routine was tiring and it weighed me down. If you can’t feel at ease in your home, with your own people, what’s the point?


It’s been a slow transition but I wish I could tell my counsellor that I finally stepped down from that tightrope where I couldn’t put a foot wrong. I wish I could tell her that actually “Katie does make mistakes” but I can handle them – it’s okay. 

The ground is no longer made of eggshells that I have to tiptoe around apologetically, every misstep soothed by a whispered “sorry”. 

I’m no longer weighed down by the pressure of perfection and I am able to smile after things don’t go to plan, because, in the grand scheme of things, no one is dying…

Recently, I locked myself out of my flat and had to travel across London to retrieve a spare set of keys. Oops.

What’s a mistake that you’ve recently made?

Thanks for reading 🙂


11 thoughts on “Reality Revisited: “You look taller”

  1. You stepped up when it mattered. That’s what counts. Forever. Relaxation is so difficult after a protracted period of intensity, so I’m glad to hear that you’re gradually learning to chill! Best wishes, Kevin

  2. It can be very hard to accept that in times of great need we might be less than perfectly capable of dealing with our life or those of people who depend upon us. But it is human, and hard as we might try to be, we are not actually perfect Super-heores and will make some mistakes, some bigger than others.

    I’m actually struggling to think of any recent mistakes so i’ll give you a super big one from back when i was around your age:

    I once left a cheque for six million dollars in a folder on a cafe counter where i stopped for a quick iced coffee on the way back from the bank. When i got back to work around 10 minutes later my boss told me the cafe owner had rang to say they had the cheque! I was extremely red faced and grovellingly grateful when i returned to address my ‘little’ mistake. 🙂

    1. Hi!!
      Absolutely. Humans are messy creatures and mistakes are just all part of the experience. Currently training at work and mistakes are happening left, right and centre, but hey ho, that’s why I’m training.

      We had to read your comment twice with wide eyes to take in your story. How lucky were you that day!!?? Glad there were no severe consequences!

      As always, thanks for commenting 😀


      1. Thanks Katie, I think i might have a guardian angel looking out for me (and occasionally laughing to himself at my efforts) 😉

        Sending positive thoughts for your training, hopefully we learn through our mistakes (and also through asking questions, or, if all else fails, reading the manual!!) 😀

      2. I think you do! I think we all do, and yes they must have been laughing that day!

        Thank you, yep lots of questions being asked, over and over again! 😂

  3. Tough to stand tall in the face of grief. But doing so honors the person you are grieving for. Shows that you learned the lessons she taught you and you can carry on and fulfill her wishes for you.

Leave a Reply