Bereavement

Hey Munchkins. Today’s not a good day and as you can tell by the title I’m going to try and help you with it. I’m also going to share my experiences as it’s a very touching subject to most but as I’ve said before, please don’t feel sorry for me, I’m fine now and I know what to do if I get back into that situation. And please no hate because no one likes it and it’s only going to bring me down more. 

You probably just know me as the bubbly 13 year old that I tend to be but from a year ago today I really wasn’t that person. A year ago today my Great-Nan died. OK, I know it’s my Great-Nan (or Nan) and we weren’t that close and there are people who have lost people closer to them, but she’d been suffering a long time and everyone was prepared and I was just there like, what do I do? I’d spent her last Christmas with her as well as most of our family, and I know it was the right thing, but she was so full of life and happiness that day, and we all kind of knew that was the last real thing she’d properly see. I was 12, and I’d had my fair share of life already, and I didn’t really think I’d be that upset as much as it sounds cruel, but as time went on it just got worse and worse.

I was supposed to be going out with Courtney that day and my Dad got the phone call literally as we were walking out the door, but I asked him what had happened and he just said ‘Nan’s died’. I had a thought that it could be that, but hearing those words out loud and not from my own mouth was indescribable. My stomach just dropped and Courtney was still talking but I couldn’t hear her and everything just went so slow. I didn’t cry and I still went out which I sort of feel guilty for but it’s better with a tub of ice-cream crying my eyes out. 

A few weeks later I went to her funeral and it was an emotional time. This was the first real time I’d heard about her life, who she was etc and it opened my eyes at what we’ve lost. I saw my Auntie Karen and my cousin who’s like my older brother cry and nothing will ever change that for me. That day my Aunt and cousin took care of me as my Dad was her eldest Grandson so he did a lot, and it was hard watching people you love go through such a tough time. She wasn’t cremated so I watched her being buried in her coffin, and my Nan and her brothers and sisters all throw a rose in with her. I’m not going to lie, thinking back, I do miss her, but those emotions from that day really set me off in a whole world of depression which I’ll talk about some other time. But looking back at how far I’ve come since then it is amazing and I can’t help but think ‘What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger’. 

I went out for a meal with my Nan, Mum and brother earlier and she kept talking about it and I just keep thinking ‘Don’t in case you get upset’ which is what I’ve thought for the past year. I remember her saying stuff like ‘The boys don’t talk about her any more’ meaning my cousins but I understand that because I don’t either as I think it might upset her. She also said ‘When PJ came down he looked into the garden and said he could see a lady like Nanny,’ which is strange seeing as he was only 2 when she died. It brings it back though and I’m just happy she gave us all the lives we have now.

Now I’m just going to get some questions off Google like most asked and try and answer them. 

Do all people grieve in the same way?

Definitely not. My cousin Ethan whose a few months younger than me went to the funeral as well and I don’t think he had the troubles I had. He might but I don’t think so and I know he was upset but I think it effected him quicker than it took me to sink in etc. I guess it depends on how close you were to the person, biologically and emotionally and how old you are (for example a parent dying when you’re young) and how you last saw them maybe, like if you had an argument, how they died, anything. 

Will I ever stop crying?

I went through a time when I could see no light at the end of the tunnel and all I did was cry. I know some people that continually try to take their life because it’s been started by these emotions, but if you get the right help and you just say to yourself ‘I need to stop doing this’ then it should help. Again it depends on how you react to things like this and how close you were but most people do come out of it with a few marks and scrapes along the way but all in all their just a better person because of it. I had no counselling and I got into a habit of crying whenever I was alone, but with a bit of determination I got myself out of the bad place I was in and got my life back on track. 

How important is the funeral?

For different people it could vary, like the children of the person whose died probably feel like they need to, but I just wanted to go and say goodbye. Don’t feel like you’re being forced to go or feel like you can’t go, if you’re even considering going to the funeral then they were obviously close to you. There was some deliberation about whether I should go because I was only 12, and even though it brought all these emotions, I’m glad I found all this out about her, I’m glad I said goodbye and I’m glad I watched her go to heaven and become an angel with her parents and brothers and sisters. It makes me proud to be her Great-Granddaughter, hearing things like that. A few months before she died my Mum said to us whether we would want to go, and even though she hadn’t passed yet, I still knew I wanted to. Sometimes they won’t want young people there as they might be cremated which is totally understandable as we wondered whether I should go for that or whether she was just going to be buried. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t, but just take into account all of this and don’t ever feel like you have to do something. 

How do I tell other people that someone’s died?

Obviously for me my best friend was there, but I think if it’s a family member you should phone them. Personally I think text will make it seem rude and disrespectful to the person you’re telling and who’s passed. If it’s a friend I’d tell them by phone as well and before school the next day so they know how to act around you. If somebody’s having an argument with you, do not hold it against them because if it’s your friend or someone they should know and you can’t use someone’s death as a defense for doing something. Also, don’t just keep it to yourself as that can also be bad for you. Only get counselling if you think you need it. If someone’s died and you’ve had your cry and a few weeks down the line you’re OK, don’t bother because it won’t really benefit you. If something happens to you like depression further on though I would bring up the death as it could be a starting point as it was with me. 

How will I know when I’m better?

When you feel a lot happier and a lot more comfortable talking about it. As strange as that sounds, if you cry when you speak about the person and then stop when you feel happier, then that’s a sign. When you have got yourself together and you feel more like you before this all happened as that was my idea to get better – stop crying and be me again. For some it’s stopping self-harm, which you can get help for, or crying which you just have to slowly get out the habit of, or just thinking about them in a depressing and saddening way. Think that they’re not in pain anymore, or they’ve had a good life but if it was something quite sudden like a car crash, think that they’d be heavily disabled if they’d come out alive, so maybe it’s better they didn’t make it. As brutal as it sounds, it is the truth and it’s the only way to get yourself better again. Also, when I was younger my Granddad (my Nan’s ex-husband) died of cancer, but he’d been suffering a while, and that’s what keeps me positive and my Nan was in and out of hospital from August until she died.

I hope this has helped you or given an insight to what it’s like and maybe educate you in some way. This has been hard to write and clicking on the ‘Publish’ button is going to be difficult to do as well. This in no way is an attention-seeking post as I said at the beginning, but it is a hard topic to talk about and it’s going to happen to anyone at least once. If you have any more questions just write it in the comments below and I’ll answer them in another blog post or by email, which ever you’d prefer. Please no hate, this is not an easy one, but I’ve been wanting to help people with this for ages as a lot of my friends are depressed and maybe some things will be relevant if that is what you’re going through. I’ll probably do another blog post on depression and self-harm, but for now this is it. 

Thank you for reading and taking time to read everything on here,

Rachel xx

 

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