I’m struggling a lot right now – grieving is so hard

If you’ve messaged me to check in with me and see how I am, chances are I’ve probably replied with something like “Thank you. I’m struggling a lot right now – it’s so hard.” I don’t know what else to say really. I am struggling and grieving for the loss of my mum and it IS so hard. So so so hard.

I’ve come to realise that the “how are you?” question is a tricky one in the grief world. I totally get it btw, and still appreciate the question – it’s lovely people are asking, but I’m too aware of how awkward it would make everyone feel if I just went “really fucking shit, thanks for asking.” It’s what you want to say. Funnily though, it’s the exact question I send to my two friends who also recently lost their mums (or mams actually – they’re both northern). I start typing the question like ‘Leanne, seriously?!?’ I’ve read somewhere that just adding ‘today’ on to the end of the question makes it feel more about grief.

How are you today?

It makes sense because the days do differ.

Two months after my mum’s passing, I guess you would say I’m functioning. Well, I’m getting up, dressed, smiling on my morning work meetings, getting lost in work, cooking dinner, watching TV, shopping online, sleeping etc, you could say I’m back to ‘normal’ but nothing about my life is normal now. I’m struggling and it’s still so hard.

Grief weighs so heavy, it’s a tonne weight on you. I’ve actually forgotten what it’s like to wake up with a spring in my step. If you wake up feeling happy, bouncing out of bed, consider yourself super lucky. It’s a gift.

I’ve discovered that 9-5 I’m actually quite on the ball – I guess it helps that I enjoy my job and I like all my work colleagues. Working from home also helps… I feel like my old journey to work would have had me in tears before getting to the office – too much time to let my mind wander to my mum. Instead, while I’m at home I usually cry before work (either while drying my hair or while making the tea in the morning), on my lunch hour if I go for a walk, and after work when I shut down my laptop feeling quite drained of energy. I usually pick up around dinner time when my sisters and I are together watching TV (oh, my TV taste has changed dramatically since losing my mum – might do a whole different post about that), but it’s before bed I really feel it. Where I feel heartbroken the most. My mum was a real night owl and so am I. I’ve always stayed up late with her or called her late at night when I lived in London. In the past year of when she needed me the most, I’d spend hours in her room getting her to bed, fluffing her 10 cushions (yes, 10). So night time, when the house is still and quiet, my grief is at it’s loudest. It’s so loud it shakes the room.

I’m writing this post the morning after my mum’s birthday – a tick off the ol’ firsts list. It was hard, it felt long, and I thought about her constantly. But I also thought we did some nice things to celebrate…

  • On Mother’s Day (which we had to endure recently) we had spent the evening making up a photo book for mum. We chose the large hardback on CEWE and you can create whatever layout you’d like and with the font you want. It arrived about a week later but we saved it to open on her birthday. Was lovely and we were so happy with it. It hurts to look at the pictures, and you just want to kiss them all, but it’s still beautiful.
  • We sat outside – mum loved sitting outside in the garden and we had a little glimmer of sunshine so we had a cup of tea outside. Coco sat on mum’s chair.
  • We went to a garden centre. I’m sure in my younger years I’d have rolled my eyes so far back in my head at the thought, and I’d have begged her to take me shopping afterwards. But mum enjoyed making the odd trip to a garden centre so it felt rather apt. They had a plant called ‘mum in a million’ so we bought that, along with a Camellia. I’d seen one on one of my recent walks and asked on Instagram what it was and apparently it was Coco Chanel’s favourite flower. So, another apt plant for our chic mum. Our family friend Stella had also bought us a ‘Helen’s rose’ plant after mum passed away, so we bought some stunning pots for all of these things. Mum would have loved leaving with the car full of new bits for the garden. Consider it your birthday present, mum.
  • We popped open a bottle of champagne. None of us are big drinkers, but it was nice to toast her with something other than a Magnum ice cream.
  • We ordered in a Patty & Bun DIY kit. I’m sure in the future we’ll probably dine out at one of her favourite restaurants but as a lockdown birthday treat, these DIY kits are amazing.
  • We watched Gogglebox and mum loved Gogglebox.
  • We were together. We spoke to our brother a few times (he’s in Wales) and we saw our Aunty Margaret (my mum’s sister) who popped round with flowers for her sister.

The next big first is my birthday on the 22nd, of this month. I’ve already started getting the ‘what do you want for your birthday?’ question, and it’s hard because there’s only one thing I really want – my mum.

Happy heavenly birthday to my mum – she’d have turned 77 xoxo

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