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.
Anna is wonderful person I have connected with via the online grief community. She reached out with a touching message ‘Your page is a great source of understanding and knowing I’m not alone’ I love hearing feedback like this because this is why I started the page to just help others. Its such a wonderful community and were all on the same mission to get grief spoken about in a more open and honest way.
Anna-Marie shares her story:
Who have you lost?
How old where you when they died?
It was in September 2020, I was 31 years old at the time.
What is their name?
My Dads name was William, Willie to everybody that knew him. Although my mum called him Will.
How did they die?
My Dad died from Lung Cancer.
Tell me about the moment you found out and the feelings that comes with it?
We found out my Dad had a mass on his lungs on my Daughters 3rd birthday. He was in hospital at the time, he was gutted he wasn’t able to celebrate with us. I called him before we went out for dinner and asked him for an update – he said I have a mass. I said isn’t that cancer? He said no, don’t worry, that word hasn’t been used. I felt a little relieved but scared. The words mass/shadow in my head equalled cancer. But it was like I blocked it out, pretended he hadn’t said it, pushed it to the back of my mind.
Two weeks later, after further tests, my mum and brother took my Dad to the hospital. I waited at their house, they came home and told us it was lung cancer, stage 4, terminal. They said the doctors were confident he would be able for treatment to prolong his life, immuno therapy they called it. They seemed confident. I didn’t feel confident.
I went in to Dad, he sat watching TV. I held his hand and he said ‘so they’ve told you then?’ I said of course Dad, I’m worried about you. He replied ‘don’t be worrying about me, I’m just thankful it’s not one of you.’ That was my Dad, always thinking of someone else.
I could see my Dad everyday, declining, lessening in conversation, lessening in eye contact, loosing the brightness that shone through his eyes and his smile.
A week after that, he was ambulanced to hospital. They wanted to do something called the ‘Talc Procedure’. We were able to see him everyday through his window on the bottom floor. Until he was moved upstairs, no longer at a window… he wanted to come home. He barely spoke on the phone, he was distressed, he was lonely….
I went to see him, to take him some DVDs. The nurse wouldn’t let me in, she said I would make him too distressed. I was allowed to peer around the door window, his back was to me, he was sat up, he scratched his head and even by the back of him, I could see his sadness.
A week after first arriving in hospital, two weeks after finding out my lovely Daddy had cancer, we were called to the hospital after my brother rang for an update.
I remember my brother saying don’t panic, we’ve called them, they haven’t called us.
I got around three minutes with my Dad, lucid and awake, before he was put into a deep sleep, which he never woke up from….
Watching my Dad die in his hospital bed was heart-breaking. Praying and hoping he could hear us talking to him, singing to him, joking with him, crying for him, is something I hope for everyday. I wish I could have had more time with him, more of a conversation, a hug, a hand held, a kiss before he left us. Instead I talked nervously about jelly babies I had left in the car for him in our last conversation, Those last few minutes I had with him whilst he was awake…. All I felt was overwhelmed with concern when I walked into that hospital room. It overtook my whole body, it’s the feeling I most remember. Overwhelming concern and the utmost sadness.
How do you think losing your loved one has changed you as a person?
I feel like my heart is broken, and a piece of it has gone and it won’t ever properly fix back together. There will always be a part of me buried with my Dad. I feel an empathy with people who have lost, that I could never fully understand before. I don’t think you can ever understand until you have those feelings yourself. I feel sad for me, my children, my family, for loosing the head of our family – the man we all went to in most circumstances. I don’t think I will ever be the same, and I am trying to learn that, that is okay.
What is your happiest memory of them?
I have so many memories of my Dad. I loved my Dad being my Dad, but i loved more watching him be a Grandad to my darling girls who he absolutely doted on. He was a Grandad on earth to my oldest for three years and sadly only to my youngest for four months! But he cherished them… watching him share his food, tell jokes, give hugs, tell stories melted my heart all of the time. The nicknames he had for them were hilarious! He truly was a one of a kind.
Any bits of advice you’d give to someone who is currently going through what you went through?
It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be heartbroken, it’s okay to feel empty, it’s okay to feel lost, it’s okay to feel alone…. everything you feel is validated.
When someone says ‘it gets easier’, smile politely and walk away…. no one can tell you it will get easier. Grief isn’t easy! I don’t think it gets easier, but someone told me recently, ‘you just learn to live with the pain and sadness’… I much preferred hearing this. I much preferred the honesty of knowing my hurt will always be hurt, my heart will always have a piece missing.
Also, if you need to talk to someone… Do! I reached out to the NHS and I have been talking to a bereavement counsellor. I didn’t think it would be ‘my thing’, but I can say to her things I don’t feel like I can say to anyone else. Share my thoughts, share my whatifs, share my crazy… and she’s okay with that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Dad, not an hour goes by when your not on my mind. I look at the photos, read your text messages to me, think of the memories, visit you every week…. but it’s not the same. I miss my number one supporter. I miss the phone calls, I miss the laughs, i miss pulling on your drive & seeing you sitting in your chair, I miss watching Tele with you, I miss you making me a cup of tea, I miss watching you cuddle the girls…. I hope you know the hole you left behind in our hearts. You are so loved Daddy.
Love always, Your Annie x
Thank you so much for getting involved in this little project of mine Anna, losing a parent is always hard and even harder during a pandemic so thank you for talking so openly. Anna advice on talking is key, please no one struggling silently my DM’s and Email is always open, I’m not a professional but I’m a listening ear.
Love the Girl with Grief