grieving gracefully

this is a story of darkness and light, about sorrow and joy of a loving daughters journey through grief.

5 notes

"you win grief, you win" those exact words came out of my mouth recently and were the defining moment in my journey. It has taken me three years to understand that. To recognize that grief is not a phase, nor an obstacle that can be overcome. No. Grief is a life force. It always wins. If it was an olympic sport and I was racing against grief it would win the gold every single time. No matter how hard I train. No matter how hard I work to beat it. Grief will always win. It’s that simple. You see I used to want to overcome grief. I yearned for a life without it trying everything I could in those dark moments to perfect the smile that covered my sadness. But the truth about that is that your not doing yourself any good by suppressing grief. Today I have accepted my grief. Today I am not afraid to show my sadness in those rough times. Today I am not afraid to reach out and ask for a hug. I am eased by the notion that it is here to stay. forever. Grief is my cross I will carry through the rest of my life just like mum carried her cross with cancer. My grief keeps HER with me in my everyday life. Those unexpected moments of raw emotion steal my heart like a thief time and time again. SHE feels closer than ever when those tears stream down my face. Perhaps that is the greatest gift that grief gives us- the memory of a strong love.  I don’t think there will ever come the day where my grief is put away. That void will always remain in my heart and it shouldn’t go away.

I say often in my head "I accept you grief, I take you for all that you are. I will learn to love you.’"

I have an email saved that mum wrote about 6 months before she passed away. The subject read ” Ok. So maybe this is my roller coaster ride.” She wrote to the family about her recent health. That one line of mum’s words have always stayed with me. She had accepted her trial. She knew her illness was here to stay- so she took something awful and made it beautiful. Her roller coaster ride was an 8 year ride of ups and downs. SHE lived for the ups and they gave her the strength to ride through the downs. Like mum,  I take my grief as my roller coaster ride.  It is a journey for us all, even though a day in sorrow feels like an eternity at times; and that comes reflection. I have found that three years on, I am stronger and at times I am not, I have understanding though at times I do not understand at all but my family and YOU are still here-bringing and reminding me everyday of mum and helping me carry her along for the ride. It truly takes a village. Everyone who knew mum carries their own memories of her, her voice, her face, her laugh, what she did and said and all those fragments of her are pieced together in this big wide world and make a complete picture. HER picture. It takes everyone, together, to hold all of her. I am trying to make my ride as pleasant as possible not just for me but for HER. 

Sigh. Deep breath. 

The reality of her loss did not hit me that first year. While I struggled to find reason and clarity and poured my heart and soul into creating beauty in her name,she was hovering over my days like familiar air. I could still breathe her in. Inhale all that she was. I learned to form a new relationship with mum- one based on honor and sharing her to all and everyone I knew and met. On a good day, the grief stood quietly beside me while I photographed, shared, wrote and thought of a thousand different ways to bring her back- and on bad and worst days, the grief stole my heart like a thief and I struggled for air. 

When mum was by my side, her presence was not just a physicality but a constant series of events. It was the events in our day to day life, the interaction that defined her significance and our relationship. She was not just present, but a presence.  When she left my side, the void was and forever will be immeasurable. She was here one day, and gone one night. No more laughing together, no long car rides, no talking, no sharing of secrets, no more hugs, no more i love you’s, no more i’m sorrys. Just no her, no more.

Losing mum was definitive and yet, I never truly imagined the day that her presence would become a photograph that sits on our mantle. If there is one thing that cancer taught me those 8 years was to stay in the present moment. Of course my mind would wander to the future every so once in awhile and i never could identify with what was in the cards for our future. A life without mum seemed utterly impossible- I didn’t want that future so I stayed in the present. The present with HER. 

and now three years on-  She is nowhere and everywhere all at the same time.


I know for certain she is orchestrating my life. She has created a new normal with such beautiful people in my life. THEY are earth angels to me. THEY keep me going. THEY keep me so very happy. THEY are the best part about me.

Today I am simply grateful that life has gone on. That life kept going when my world had stopped. I am grateful that I continue to adjust ever so slowly and  still work hard every single day at creating happiness in this new world..to carry on seemed so impossible back then…but I did, I surived the first year, second year and third year so far with so much gratitude to those who’ve supported me and continue to. There were so many days in those early months that brought me to my knees, literally, but it is incredible just how much we really can withstand..way beyond what is believed possible.

so today, and hopefully tomorrow I proudly say "I accept you grief and I do love you"

Thank you dear mummy. so very much.

xoxo

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For two who are close in heart and mind … the miles that separate them are no more than inches.

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Remember her spirit and charm, her selfless caring for others, her laugh, and her contagious smile. Be a good friend and make others feel welcome and loved- especially those who need it the most. Remember that life is a gift. Hold your family close to your heart and most of all make sure you don’t miss any of the fun.