I felt that my 20s were consumed with people dying and it became my identity
When my mum Jude died, I was 28. I had already experienced grief and loss, as my dad died when I was 23. I felt that my 20s were consumed with people dying and it became my identity, as my grandparents on both sides also died in my 20s.
My mum, throughout her life, had a number of different illnesses and this was the third time with cancer, all different and not related. Her cancer journey began when I was 8. Caring for my mum became part of my life and became the norm.
She went through a number of challenges during her life and both myself and sister took the more parental role. I was working for MNDA when my mum became ill (for the final time) and also working in care supporting individuals at the end of life.
I decided knowing that mum had a terminal diagnosis and required more care, to stop working and become her full time carer. This allowed me to spend quality time with her and also support my nan.
My mum was 56 when she died and I struggled once again with my purpose in life, as I had spent a long time looking after her. In a way, I replaced the loss by focusing my attention on my nan and caring for her.
As Mother’s Day approaches]d, every year the shops seemed to be filled with cards, balloons, flowers, etc, and there did not seem to be an escape. I would tend to avoid the shops, as I felt it was a ‘kick in the teeth’ being faced with the fact that my mum was no longer here to celebrate, and that I no longer had a mum to treat and spoil.
It didn’t matter where I went, it was there in my face reminding me of my loss. Relentless emails from restaurants and shops telling us we need to “treat your mum on this special day.” Why didn’t they know I was grieving? It would get me upset and cross.
Since doing my training as a Grief Recovery Method Specialist and going through the Grief Recovery Method myself (a short action programme that helps people move beyond the pain of loss), it has allowed me to put down the pain I was carrying. It has enabled me to feel gratitude for the time I had with my mum and also my nan.
I feel grateful for the love, the life lessons and the memories I have and I look back on days out, events, and life with them with a smile. I now don’t feel consumed by my grief, I don’t have a heavy heart. I have a smile without the sadness.
Jodie Mortern-Davies is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist based in Northampton. Jodie specialises in end of life support, anticipatory grief, trauma and long-term grief - teaching emotional wellness life skills that will enable you to make the positive changes you need to move forward. You can get in touch with Jodie here.