Coming to terms with loss

March 30, 2021
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Marion Donohoe

In October 2018 my mother died from complications following a fairly routine surgery. It took me a longtime to accept the fact that she'd gone, as I felt cheated out of the remaining years she should have had.

About a month after I lost her I found it hard to cope with feelings of guilt. I had always called her 2 to 3 times a week and now all that was gone. I felt guilty for not ringing her, even though I knew that wasn't possible.

So instead I thought to write down my feelings in the form of letters and diary entries, as though I was speaking directly to mum. This brought me some comfort because I felt I was keeping my mum in the loop of our ongoing lives. I could tell her everything I felt and getting it down on paper released those thoughts and feelings from my mind. It also gave me something to look back on and read.

At first I wrote quite regularly but as time progressed I found life returning to some sort of normality and the gaps between my letters grew. This also gave me a sense of guilt when I noticed it had been three months since I'd written, but it also showed me that I was beginning to live a more full life. Sometimes I go back and read all those entries from the beginning and it shows me how far I've come.

I still have days where I still cry myself to sleep at night. I find that anniversaries, birthdays and Christmases all bring back those treasured memories of the person I've lost. I do find it helpful to talk about mum, but there is always a sense that I'm boring people. Friends who have also lost parents understand and talking to them helps me a lot. I'm so grateful to have these friends in my life.

I don't think you ever really get over losing someone, you just learn to live with the sorrow and sometimes the days feel brighter.

Here are some resources to help you deal with losing a loved one and dealing with grief;

7 things to remember when dealing with loss

Grieving your way

Thank you to Andreea Popa for the image!

Marion Donohoe

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