On the morning my Mum died, I remember driving home from the hospital and seeing a man painting his fence. He was in his own little world happily painting away, but it made me really angry. As I sat in my car at the traffic lights and watched him merrily painting away, I felt this sudden surge of anger. How dare he paint his fence and act like everything is normal, when I have just lost my Mum and my life will never be the same?
10 minutes later I was in floods of tears.
24 hours later, I couldn't believe it had happened.
36 hours later, I'd convinced myself the nurse had made a mistake.
And so the cycle continued... still does sometimes. The 5 stages of grief, are brutal, but natural. Here's a previous blog I've written about it.
I had a conversation with a family recently about this and I could see the look of relief on their faces, when they realised that what they were feeling was totally normal, because nothing about grief or loss feels normal, it just feels really painful and isolating.
About 3 years after my Mum died and then again after my Dad died, I went for counselling. I knew something wasn't right with me, I wasn't sleeping, I was having panic attacks, I was struggling at work, I was tearful sometimes, angry others and I just didn't feel like me.
Going to counselling was the best thing I ever did and I can't recommend it enough. There's absolutely no shame in asking for help, it's a brave thing to do and just because you think you can do it alone, doesn't mean you should!
If you're struggling and you're not sure where to turn, then here's a few suggestions. By no means am I an expert in this field, so my suggestions are just a guide.
Maybe the first place to go for help is your GP, they can refer you to a counsellor, or you can look for one privately, maybe ask around to see if any of your friends or family can recommend one.
If you have a child in your life that's struggling with loss then there's charities such as The Children's Bereavement Centre, they cover Nottinghamshire and work with children and young people aged between 3 and 18, and also with pre-bereaved children, who have someone in their life with a terminal diagnosis of less than a year.
There's also a charity called Widowed and Young, they are a charity with groups all over the UK that offers peer-to-peer support for anyone who has lost a partner before their 51st birthday. They offer support to people whether they were married or not, whether they have children or not and whatever their sexual orientation.
The Tomorrow Project, is a Nottinghamshire charity who work with those who might be thinking about ending their own life and the families of those who have had the tragic experience of losing someone to suicide.
This list is my no means exhaustive and it barely scratches the surface, but hopefully it's given you an idea that there is help out there and that you're not alone.
Please, if you need help or support ask for it.