When my father died in 1994 a lot of people were on tenter hooks. I remember travelling down to Ellesmere for a CYFA youth camp in the summer and people were looking at me and were terrified of saying the wrong things.
When people respond to those have lost a loved one it can be a difficult time. You are desperate not to say the wrong things or think you might upset them even if you mention the persons name who has died.
I wrote a few letters to the people who mum had in her address book and who she used to send Christmas cards to each year. I used to have to do it all in the last few years because of the deterioration in mums health.
I got phone calls, letters and even texts back from people who had know mum either when she was at school with her or had been in nurse training years ago. They were very touching and lovely responses. They said that they were pleased that I had written and taken the time to notify them of mums death.
Responses from people closer to home were amazing. My friends have been better than I could ever expected. My aunt (mums sister) and my uncle have both been strong for me and saw the last few months of mums life. They too have had to come to terms with losing someone very close to them as well.
Add on my depression and emotional side I have been astounded at the amount of people who have said “you must have looked after her very well” or “she was really lucky to have a son like you”. I never saw it as that. I saw it as the next part of my life and that I knew it would be better for me to look after mum. I knew that I could keep a close eye on her and the people who helped me during that time could also give me advice on how to look after someone with advanced dementia.
My friends (who I won’t name as I don’t want to embarrass them) have been like a rock. A foundation that I didn’t appreciate until something like this happens. They have asked if there is anything they can do etc.
The professional people like nurses and doctors again have been wonderful. Maybe it’s the bags under my eyes that reminds them to tell me that I should be looking after myself at this time now. This is my time to recover and relax. Easier said than done as you can understand.
I am sitting here writing this in my living room and listening to some music. The snow is falling and things seem a little more Christmassy. I know I have a few days that I can relax before the funeral but I wanted to say thank you to all the kinds people who have phoned, texted, email, Facebook messages, twitter messages, twitter replies, sent cards, letters and spoken to me in person and said such kind things.
Yesterday I said to a dear friend that “Only when you experience the darkness around you do appreciate the light”.