Dealing with Grief

I'm putting this post up as part of an agreement with Laurenella who had tweeted to say she was wondering whether to post a 'personal' post, I told her I loved to read personal posts but that I couldn't really talk because I had lots of posts in my drafts which I daren't post. I've had this in drafts for months, I didn't want to post it because I didn't know if it was a bit 'much' but here goes...

Please note, the content of this post could be a potential trigger, please be aware of this before you proceed to read. Thankyou.

I was undecided about whether to actually post about this because it's a bit depressing and a bit morbid in a way but I realise that my readers might want to know a little more about me than meets the eye. I also find it's good to 'talk' and share things like this because I have no doubt that there will be at least some of you that have experienced the same as me. 

Basically, 5 years today I lost my Auntie... she was one of those people in my life that I couldn't imagine losing, I remember thinking to myself 'I really don't know what I'd do if I lost my Auntie Karina' because she was such an inspiration to me. Other people would probably just think she's a normal person, nothing out of the ordinary and she was really, I just totally idolised her for all she was and all she did. She was so determined to get where she wanted to be and she definitely lived every day as if it were her last. She was diagnosed with a secondary Neuroendocrine tumour in her liver, which was devastating because I for one generally associate 'cancer' with death. However, the doctors told her that if she had periodic treatment she would probably live a perfectly normal life as it wasn't an aggressive cancer and could be kept under control. Unfortunately what they didn't know was where the primary cancer was, they couldn't find it anywhere. 

She lived a relatively normal life for about a year, obviously having treatment and stuff but none of us were ever worried that it was serious enough to threaten her life. She celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary with a party in July 2007, looking healthy as ever, loving life and not showing any signs of being beaten by her cancer.

(Karina is on the right hand side, the day before her 10th wedding anniversary party, my mum is on the left)

But then in December 2007, she came home to announce to us that she had a matter of weeks to live. We had no idea how much she had deteriorated because she lived in London and to be honest I don't think she wanted us to know the score because she knew that we'd all want to be down there looking after her and she didn't want that. The doctor had said she had around 2 weeks left, but as I always say doctors can't put a time on your life and she proved that because she was actually at home with us for 7 weeks which was both lovely but so painful at the same time because we saw her get worse over a period of time.

The whole experience wasn't one I'd wish on my worst enemy, Karina seemed so strong and we all crumbled around her; I remember the day she came home like it was yesterday, and I remember hearing my mum cry in bed which was awful because I honestly didn't know what to do. I'd always been so good at expressing my emotion and comforting others but I just clammed up. I spent my nights reading about cancer and other peoples experiences, hoping and praying that there was going to be this miracle and she'd be ok. Silly really, and totally irrational. 

So the weeks passed by, it was just like a waiting game, waiting for the inevitable to happen... I can't even begin to imagine what Karina was thinking. On Wednesday January 30th 2008 at about 8.45pm she lost her battle, with everyone around her (except me, I chose to stay in the front room). And I remember sitting there on the sofa staring at the TV, I heard everyone burst into tears and I knew what had happened but I was just blank. Not because I wasn't upset but I don't think my brain knew what to do. I went into the room where she was and said goodbye and had a little tear and a little cry but that was it really.

For a week after that I was like emotionless and I'd beat myself up emotionally thinking what is wrong with you, you heartless cow! Why aren't you crying!? Because I knew I should have been, I just couldn't. 

Then came the funeral and I decided to do a bit of a reading, on the day I remember being fine, we followed the herse to the church and I was OK then we got out and waited for the coffin to come out and I just remember this overwhelming feeling came over me, I just thought that's my Auntie Karina in there and I just broke down... for the first proper time I really cried. It was the first time since she passed away that I felt uncontrollable grief.

I was sat down in the church and I remember my dad putting his arms on my shoulders from behind me and I just turned around really nastily and said 'GET OFF' and I know that's so awful but I just didn't want to be touched because I didn't know how to deal with it. I composed myself and got up to do the reading and I was fine, a little shakey at the end but I just managed to pull myself together. 

I had never had this happen before, I'd never had anyone that close to me pass away before so this was my first experience and I really didn't know how to deal with it. I probably should have gone to a councillor about it but I didn't know what I wanted to say, I spent a lot of time writing letters about how I felt, even to this day I'll write my Auntie Karina a note in a card and take it to the cemetary. She's still very much a part of my life, I happen to have surrounded myself with her friends because I married her best friends' brother!

Everything is so much easier for me when I talk, I don't want to hug about it and I don't want people to tell me how sorry they are... I never have. All I've ever craved is people to talk to me about her, and I've never had a problem with that because there's always someone willing to chat to me about old times. The only thing I will say about my whole experience is that I feel like I've become a bit 'cold' at times. I tend to grieve to myself most of the time, everyone knows how much I miss her and I don't want to sound like a broken record but I do still sometimes think 'this is a horrible dream... and I'm going to wake up any minute'. But obviously it's not and there's times when the harsh reality will hit me and I'll just cry... whether it's a song or a film or whatever it is there are certain things that will bring everything flooding back and I don't see that stopping any time soon. 5 years on, I think I'm still grieving in a way because I feel so robbed; I had big plans for me and my auntie Karina and they never happened. 

One of my fave photos of her (i'm the little girl)

I'll never stop missing her, I'll never forget her, and I'll certainly never stop talking about her! 

You can't put a timescale on grief, and nobody can tell you how to do it. I do feel as if mine was a delayed reaction, I feel it more sometimes now than I did when it happened. If you're going through it please remember that there's always someone to talk to. The only help I sought was from the Samaritans I didn't ring them, because I didn't feel I wanted to 'talk' to anyone, I sent them an email just explaining how I felt (it was at the point when I wasn't feeling much emotion) and within 24 hours they replied to me and it did give me some comfort knowing that someone was there to give me impartial advice. 

I'm not a councillor or an expert in this and I only know what I've experienced but if you haven't already tried it... talk to someone, even if it is the Samaritans, there's no shame in it. Whatever you feel isn't wrong or a sin. It's your way of dealing with it, and your way, whichever way it is, it's absolutely fine. 

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