When I first wrote part two of this series, it was a very different post. I was really angry at the world for taking my beautiful Mum, and everything just seemed to make me more upset. I felt alone, not because there weren’t people around, but because I felt utterly vulnerable.
Both my parents have passed away now and I can’t fully describe how vulnerable and scared that makes me feel. Some friends have suggested that it’s mainly because I’m in my mid-twenties, and I don’t really have other biological family. I’m not sure I agree though. From talking to different people in the last few weeks, I don’t really think it matters what stage you lose your parents in your adult life; too often you feel absolutely vulnerable without them. It can feel like you haven’t been able to ask them important questions, or get enough feedback, or that you simply haven’t been taught enough by them. For me, I felt like I couldn’t make life decisions or be assertive without talking it through with my Mum first, something that we would do regularly.
Even though a lot of my friends have been amazing in the last two months, I still felt very alone, and it wasn’t until after I had dealt with the difficult situation I found myself in recently that I realised why. I felt alone because I didn’t have the specific support that I only could get from my Mum. For me, there was a type of approval and familial support that I only have ever had from Mum in my adult life. I knew I had made the right decision after talking things through with her because I could see she agreed with it wholeheartedly. As amazing as my friends are, that maternal approval and support isn’t something I can get from them but it is something I am very slowly learning to live without.
I am very slowly and unsteadily learning to stand on my own two feet for what feels like the first time.
I’m really lucky at this stage, that both my parents and myself managed to build an incredible and very knowledgable community around me. I have lots of people that specialise in lots of different things. I don’t think I would be able to get through these first few steps without those who have been there to give me advice, help to pack up Mum’s house, or even just buy me a coffee and chat. Having those people around has made me feel safe enough to be assertive and make my own decisions, and right now that is enough.
There is no choice right now. Life continues. I have to keep stumbling forward even if I make the wrong choices but at least I know I’m not alone.
For those who don’t know the background of this piece, Let’s Talk About Grief… Part 1 can be found here.
Artwork by Merril Cook