Seven years. Even to write that feels like an out of body experience. Tomorrow, January 23rd, will mark seven years since my mam passed away.
I’m not going to speak too much about her passing (I don’t like the word ‘death’) as, to be honest, it’s still something I’m coming to terms with and it’s a very private/sensitive topic.
But if you didn’t know, my mam passed away very suddenly from cancer in 2011, when I was 15 and she was 42. So the past seven years have been a rollercoaster to say the least.
With her anniversary approaching, I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about the last seven years and what has happened in that time. In ways, it feels like she passed away yesterday. But at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.
I decided to share a few things I’ve learned over the past seven years since her passing as I truly and honestly feel like a completely different person to who I was then. I’m not sure I even recognise the ‘old’ Amy. And maybe if there’s someone out there going through something similar, what I’ve learned might help them in their journey.
Obviously, everyone’s experience is different and there are different lessons to be learnt, but these are just a few that are relevant to me.
I’ve no doubt that the next seven years and beyond will teach me many more things, but the most important will always be: spend time with your loved ones and be kind. You never know what someone is going through.
Side note: there’s a chance that my mam would kill me for using the centre photo of her, but I think she looks truly beautiful. The other images are of me and her, and my mam, dad and I.
What I’ve learned since my mam passed away
Not everyone will be there for you… but the ones who stay are diamonds
This one came as a total shock to the system for me. You might be fortunate enough that this point might not apply to you, but that certainly wasn’t the case for me.
Friends and family members I had spent most of my life with disappeared in the months and years after my mam passed away. At the time, it hurt like hell. There’s no other way to describe it.
But simultaneously, other friends and family members pulled through like absolute warriors. Even people I hadn’t been close to before showed so much kindness. And it’s those people who matter the most.
Today, I’ve a core group of friends, family and friends who I call family and I couldn’t be more grateful for them. It might sound harsh, but the ones who stick around are the ones who matter most. Never forget that.
Learn to be okay on your own
This is a lesson that is only learned through experience, unfortunately, but it might be one of the most valuable things you ever do.
Once you learn how to look after yourself (mentally and physically) and make yourself happy, you’ll never feel alone.
Know when to ask for help
Being surrounded by loved ones is one of the most helpful things after someone passes away, but it can still be difficult to ask for help. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out and tell someone you trust that you’re struggling.
Don’t be scared to open up and let your wounds show – but don’t forget to give them time to heal either. Support is one of the most important things you can get in the months/years after someone dies – make sure you get some for yourself, whether it be through a friend or professional.
Time goes on – no matter what
I think that time is one of the craziest things in the world. When it comes to grieving and healing, sometimes time doesn’t mean anything at all and the pain is still there and raw, even after years or decades.
But time means that while the pain may still be there, you learn to live with it and deal with it day by day. Some days will be harder than others, but you’ll get stronger with each day that comes. I’m not sure if time is a healer, but it definitely makes you more equipped to deal with whatever life throws at you.
You never know what tomorrow will bring
I believe that we have to go through some of the worst times in our lives in order to bring the best of times. It might not feel like it on your worst days, but the next day could bring you so much joy and happiness.
You truly never know what’s around the corner, even if you feel certain that you do. Life will always surprise you with things to be happy about, even if you can’t see it.
Be kind and love those around you
As I said at the beginning of this post, even if you feel like absolute crap, make an effort to be kind and show love to those around you.
Whether it be a stranger or someone in your family, doing something small to make them smile can mean the world. We all have to deal with terrible things in life at some stage or another, so we might as well help each other go through them together.
And don’t forget to be kind to yourself too. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty glass, so look after yourself first. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Buy nice bed sheets, pyjamas and cute mugs for cups of tea. Those three things will bring something good to even the worst of days.
If you’ve lost someone or are going through a tough time, please trust me when I say that it will get better. Life isn’t always sunshines and rainbows, and there will be days when you feel like you’ve taken 100 steps backwards, but for every bad day, there’s a million more good days to come. Promise.
Feel free to drop me a message on Instagram or Twitter (both @whatshedoesnow) or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re going through a tough time, I’ll be an ear to listen if you need one.
Sending lots of love and strength to everyone who has read this post, you’re all warriors and superstars xxx