The aim of this platform is to get grief spoken about in a less awkward and more open way, so I have reached out to some incredible people who all have a different story when it comes to grief, and have agreed to share it with the world through The Girl with Grief platform.
Firstly, thank you for allowing me to share your story with the world and I’m honoured to dedicate to your uncle.
Myself and Sophie met over the modern way of meeting friends, the big wide world of Instagram. We as brought together through fitness but it soon became apparent, we had a lot more in common and live in the same city. Sophie had reached out after seeing my grief blog so I thought it was a great idea to ask her to share her story with the world.
So, on my journey to get grief spoken about more openly Sophie agreed to share her story.
Sophie shares her story:
Who have you lost? My uncle
What is their name? Mark
How did they die? Cancer
Tell me about the moment you found out and the feelings that comes with it?
Mark had been fighting cancer for over 9 years. I became aware that it was terminal in early 2019. Two days before he passed, we were told that he had 24 hours to live. So, it was waiting for that dreaded phone call. But nothing could have prepared me for it. My dad called to tell me that Mark had gone. I remember not being able to breathe. It was a mix of hyperventilating and hysterical crying. I was in no state to drive, so I bought a First-Class ticket as it guaranteed more privacy than Standard. I remained numb until I later boarded a train home to be with my family. I remember crying the whole way home with no regard for the people that were staring at me, something I’d usually bottle up to avoid embarrassment. I will never forget that day and the feelings that came with it. It is something that will stay with me – the realisation that mine and my family’s lives were changed forever.
How do you think losing your loved one has changed you as a person?
There are many ways in which losing Mark has affected me. Thankfully, most of those are for the better. I no longer bottle my emotions up (something that I did in order to cope with the thought of losing him). I will cry if something upsets me. I will also cry if something makes me happy. My trip to Aus to visit my family was only 6 weeks after losing Mark. I cried for most of the trip, partly due to the grief, but partly due to the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like seeing the Great Barrier Reef for the first time and being in the Daintree Rainforest.
Mark always taught me to live life to the full and that people who wronged me weren’t worth my time. I’ve stopped being a door mat. I’ve stopped putting myself out for people that would never return it. I’ve cut off toxic people with no regrets. I take every opportunity that’s given to me and make every day count. I no longer live for the weekend. We don’t know how much time we have left, so what’s the point in working in a mundane job from Monday to Friday, and drinking yourself into oblivion on a Friday or Saturday, just to repeat the cycle again? There is so much more to life. There is so much to be grateful for.
What is your happiest memory of them?
It’s hard to put my finger on a happiest memory. There were so many. I’m so grateful that an uncle through marriage was able to play such a huge part of my childhood and my adult life. My uncle, aunty and I had sleepovers right up until I was 19. So, if I had to choose, it would be the endless nights the three of us spent cuddled up on the sofa, watching tv, eating delicious food, telling stories and feeling grateful for the family that we had been blessed with. What I would give to experience one of those nights just one last time.
Any bits of advice you’d give to someone who is currently going through what you went through?
Speak out. Confide in your loved ones. In all honesty, the grieving wasn’t the hardest impact on my mental health. It was the knowing that I was losing him that was the hardest. I chose to bury my emotions at the risk of spiralling and not being able to obtain the First-Class degree that I was on track for. I set my emotions aside as I knew that once they came to the surface, I wouldn’t be able to cope. What I didn’t appreciate until therapy almost a year later was that suppressing these emotions had caused the panic attacks that I had been suffering from 6 months prior. My family and friends had no idea that my partner was literally helping me to breathe most nights. Once he had passed, I was able to be open and honest with those around me. Those months were dark, but at least my loved ones could support me this time.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I feel that grief comes in waves. I think about Mark every single day, but 15 months later, my life is getting back on track. There are those days where my heart feels like it’s been broken in half. Those days consume me, but I ride with them. I no longer try to bury my emotions. The worst part for me is those moments where you’re reminded of a memory of them and it feels so real. I forget that he’s not here. And that’s what hurts the most. It’s like losing him all over again. But I try to overcome this by realising that it makes me feel close to him. It gives me comfort. I know he’s still here with us.
Thank you for being so open and honest Sophie, I’m sure there is a lot of people reading this that can resonate with how you’ve felt and also how you have grown. The best advice Sophie shares is opening up and talking to family and friends, it relates back to my mental health post and I thought hiding my emotions from my family was a good idea because they wouldn’t have to worry but in the long run I should have always been open and honest but its all part of a grief journey and you will find your way of dealing with it, just remember its ok to cry and always be kind to yourself.
Thank you for getting involved in this little project of mine Sophie, it’s a big ask to let me write about such a personal experience all over the internet but I’m glad you can be part of this movement. I really do thank you and I hope you find comfort in sharing your story.
Together we can make Grief a more open and less awkward subject xx