10 Years Ago

Image courtesy of Flickr, CaptPiper

I recently contacted an old friend of mine from 10 years ago. I wanted to hear her perspective of grief, given at the time she lost first her Dad through cancer and then within months her Mum followed him due to a broken heart. At the time we studied Applied Psychology together.

There are many, but if there was one sentence to highlight from our conversation, it would be this one:

I’ve also learnt that no specific length of time can be given to us in our journey of grief.

Here is our interaction, published with her consent:

Hi C.,
The other day I was thinking of you and remembering how both of your parents passed away in just a few months.

As you might know, my mum committed suicide a year ago, just 4 months after our younger daughter passed away in our arms. I’m dealing with the grief on a daily basis, some days are less affected by my emotions and some more.

I was wondering how you integrated the grief in your journey with all the years in between. How have you been dealing with your grief? 
How are you now, thinking of your mum and dad?

I understand if you prefer not to talk/write about it and I appreciate if you did.

Sending you lots of love, nathalie xxx

Dear Nathalie,
How strange it was, I think the universe was trying to tell me something as I was just thinking about you just the other day as well.

I did know through your note/blog about your loss of your mother. I am truly sorry to hear about it… but sorry or words will never be enough to express how it felt.

It is never easy to deal with grief.. I still have my moments when it comes to my parents and it has been now almost 10 years. It does get less poignant but there are moments when I just feel like crying cuz I smelt something that reminded me of them or the difficult bit was when they come to my dreams..
They are quite randoms but at times they sort of sending me some kind of messages and in time I manage to understand what are they (the meaning of my dreams).

I’ve learnt to talk about my mom and dad more openly when people asked but most of the time friends sort of shy away and don’t know what to say or ask.
I told them that’s ok.. just ask.. I won’t get offended and bear with me if I happened to shed a tear or two whilst talking about them.

Losing my dad is kind of easier to accept as I know he was having so much pain with his cancer, and I was in away accepting that he will go eventually.. but losing mom in such a short period of time was really a bit smack on my face.. I was never ready for her to leave just like that as she wasn’t ill and was pretty much in top shape..but she was so broken hearted to loose my dad.. and I was so upset for her to just give up on life.

As I said I still get emotional when I talk about mom and especially recently I had two miscarriages and I was upset that mom wasn’t there to comfort me and just to tell me what to do.. I guess the little girl in me still needed her no matter what..
I talked about my sadness or feeling blue to my husband whenever I need it..
It will never be easy but I feel that with time I sort of adjust and accept more in terms of my grief.

I have this little things that I do throughout the years.. where I light a candle and talk to them whenever I need it or need them.. I cry… I tell them that I’m upset..or even when I’m happy I told them that I wish you are watching me now.
I visit the temple(buddhist) for special occasion to celebrate different things. Throughout the years I have followed the old tradition where each year on the chinese lunar year (day 15th) I get a lantern and put a candle in it and let it go… it symbolize me letting go the past and getting a new one… which I will let go the next year… this is just one of the things that I do to let go different things that I’m struggling to let go…
I’m not sure whether you understand about it… but feel free to ask and I will try my best to explain to you ok..
I think I’ve come along way but I’m still dealing with my grief..as I said it will never be easy but in my time.. it feels less heavy. I still miss my parents awfully lot but I feel alot less heavy in my grief.

I hope you are taking care of yourself..
Talk if you need… cry and let it be… stay silent if you wish…be angry if that’s what u feel… and just let it be…laugh and it’s ok..and most of all share them all if you feel like it.. on my side.. If I may say…just embrace it…

Sending you lots of love,

Hi C.,
Lovely to hear from you and definitely your words show a soul well familiar with the personal experience of grief.

I almost have to laugh now at our grief and loss class at college and remember the strange teacher and wonder how much she really knew about the topic beside the theory. I keep saying that neither my training nor my years of experience in working with clients dealing with grief would have prepared me for my personal journey.

Still now, I have these two sides in me where one is wondering when ‘it’ will be finished (‘can’t you get over it by now?’) and the other is in the midst of it, still raw and tender in one moment and seemingly ok in another moment.

My mother’s suicide was still a surprise, even though she attempted when I was 19 weeks pregnant with the girls and had then been admitted to hospital. She was however so much better for the second half of 2011, so much so that they came to AU in December and she was (under medication for depression etc) doing very well. I would not have expected her to take a turn for the worse and be dead in less than 3 weeks after I had last seen her.

With Amya, my little girl, I’m mostly sad but with my Mum I’m still angry a lot. She’s been in my dreams heaps for the first 6 months after her passing and downloaded a lot of messages and wisdom. It’s been more quiet in dreams, however I feel her presence more now that we live in what was her home.

I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriages. How far where you? 
I wish you all the best – having a child is the most beautiful experience and also the most challenging 

Thanks for your words. I do appreciate you taking the time. 
Lots of Love, Nathalie xox

Dear Nathalie…

I feel that I can relate to you when you said you feel angry towards your mom. I am struggling with my anger feeling when it comes to my mom also… at times I felt that she abandoned me.. she chose to be with my dad.. but slowly I’m letting things go.
I have learnt to not be so hard on myself.. I used to think.. “come on, surely by now I should feel ok.. it’s been years now.. but hell no.. I still feel the unexplainable pain. I’ve also learnt that no specific length of time can be given to us in our journey of grief..
I am creating my healing through little ceremonial things that I do throughout the year and at the same time finding the new normal..what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel the grief is and will completely done and over..I still have a hole in my heart for my mom but it has no longer sucking so much energy and joy out of me..

With my miscarriages, I lost the first one on 11 weeks then the 2nd one on 8 weeks. These are whole different ball of game but I am glad that my husband and my inlaws are so supportive. We will be trying again, hopefully we will be blessed with a child soon.

Nathalie, it was my pleasure to be able to share my grief story with you..keep in touch ok.
Love always,
C. xox

Grief isn’t something you get over, it’s something we get through… and most probably never completely.


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