Losing someone you love is difficult enough, living without someone you love is heartbreaking enough, living day by day is exhausting enough without the added frustrations and torments contributed by those who exclude and patronise those living with grief. The patronising comments and exclusion are usually unintended, I know. That knowledge does not make the sting any less, though.
I have a number of arthritic conditions that cause me daily pain but this dulls into insignificance when compared to the physical pain and mental anguish I am going through now as I mourn both my parents. It is with a very heavy heart that I write this. I know that time will help but at this moment I can't see that far ahead.
It's a bit of a problem though - how nice it all is. Adam Barnard's play Buckets, a series of scenes mediating on death, life, happiness, hopes and dreams, often feels like a chocolate selection box full of tweeness, and that's without even mentioning the set compromised of flowers, balloons, and a kid's slide.
The loss of my son Hugo in March 2014 has, naturally, profoundly affected me. Nothing could have been done differently in either my or Hugo's care from a clinical perspective. However, better communication, especially at the end of Hugo's life could have made an already heartbreaking situation less stressful.
Mum probably won't still be here when I graduate. She will probably die whilst I'm still at uni. I have to cram twenty or thirty years of visits into twenty or thirty days/weeks/months. I have to ask all my questions now; predict what I might want to know in years to come. Each birthday might be Mum's last, so rather than forget it I want to make it special.
It's hard to explain but I feel like a parent. I wake up every morning thinking of Beatrice. She is the last thing I think of before I go to sleep. I talk to her. I am proud of her. When she entered this world, my outlook on life changed forever; I became a different person. That's what happens when you become a parent...