Aged 17 losing Dad to Lung Cancer and aged 21 losing Mum to Alcoholism, there’s no way I thought I’d ever get over the loss of my parents. I always said to myself, if my Mum died, I’d never be able to cope. My Dad tried his hardest to keep me at comfort by telling me everything, and preparing me for the day he finally left us, but with Mum, there was no preparation, so I was in denial that it would even ever happen.
With Dad, I didn’t really have any idea of how to grieve, I suffered with severe depression, I couldn’t hold a job down, the responsibility of taking over everything he had was just too much. I’d drink heavily, self harm, comfort eat, cry myself to sleep most nights and even attempted suicide three times. I had no tactic or way to distract myself from the hurt and the pain. I used to write him letters expressing how hurt I was, then feel bad for writing negative things and rip up the letter and start again and pretend everything was ok to make him proud. I hated myself at the time, he was a proud Dad, and the thought of him seeing me in that way just ate away at me daily.
I’m not sure I have ever got over the loss of my Dad, I’ve not tried, and I still hold his ashes to this day.
With Mum, I was in Birmingham at the time and received a phone call to say that she had been taken in to hospital and was in a bad way, she was an hour away in Wellingborough, so I made my way over to be with her. It was the worst I had ever seen her, she was frail and just looked straight through me, this hurt. It was as if she didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what to do, wether to comfort her and show my true feelings, give her cuddles and tell her how much I loved her, or be angry and try to make her realise what she was doing to herself and her loved ones. I think I was in denial as much as she was.
Looking back now, I should’ve got help with how to deal with someone addicted to alcohol, I could’ve maybe helped her more.
The last day, she laid there on the hospital bed with a machine keeping her alive, there was nothing more that could’ve been done to save her. I just remember looking at the poor nurses and thinking they could do more and they could save her, but when they asked if we all felt ok with them ‘letting her go’ they just wanted her at peace. We couldn’t keep her in pain forever. I watched her take her last breath, with her sons and family around her. She looked beautiful, just as she always did.
Everything after that was a bit of a blur, I knew I had to distract myself this time and be as strong as I possibly could. There was a funeral to make perfect, I still had bills to pay, a house to run and to not let myself get to the point I did when my Dad passed away. I turned to photography, I bought my first camera, and just went out and photographed anything I could find. It was arty, and my Mum loved art, she’d have been proud.
Every night, it would hit me. When the world goes quiet and your in bed ready to switch off. I’d sob. My partner would comfort me the best he could and tell me to put the telly on to distract me, but I’d always be scared that there’d be something relatable come up and it would make it worse. So we turned to comedy. I’d have four choices that always made everything feel better. Jason Manford, Live at the Manchester Apollo, Michael McIntyre Hello Wembley, The Big Bang Theory or anything Lee Mack related. Anything to make me laugh would just work.
Now 8 years later, I still write Mum and Dad letters. I have two children to be the best Mum I can be to. And to this day I still use comedy to get me through hard times.
If anyone has lost someone they loved and are struggling to grieve, I will always be there to chat with or try my best to help the best I can.
Here’s a few contact details where you can seek help.
Please don’t just sit and hope the feeling will just go away, get as much help and support as possible, and surround yourself with positive people always!