Things I’ve learnt since my mum passed…


On our way to take mum home x

It has been nearly four months since my Ma took her last breath. I haven’t written about it at all but then I thought why not? Why is our culture so scared and silent on death and grief? When I was caring for Ma I was reassured by many that sharing our journey really helped others so I kept blogging about it. But, I’m still on this journey, which of course means others are as well, or one day will be.

So in the hope that sharing will help others not to feel alone, here is what I have learnt so far. This isn’t going to be warm and fuzzy, and I don’t want it to be a Debbie Downer either, but a honest account.

It gets harder, not easier. You will hear lots of times that ‘it gets easier’ and ‘time heals all wounds’, but this isn’t the truth. The pain and longing remains. I have spoken to some dear friends who have lost loved ones and after ten years tears still fill their eyes when they miss them. This isn’t to say that the initial painful stages of grief last forever. Time does heal this so you are able to function. Flashbacks of unpleasant realities of passing will be fewer. But I’m told some days will be just as fresh as the first. This is kind of weirdly comforting, as it takes the pressure off to ‘get over it’.

Friends will blow you away with their love. Practical and emotional love. They will keep you afloat and in a state of eternal gratitude. They will also be super forgiving when you go underground and get slack with texting back.

Family gatherings will feel weird and incomplete. Your family will become unstuck without the glue and will take a while to stick back together in a new shape. This includes aunties, uncles and cousins. Not that you will stop being close, but there is no denying the lack of mum magic in the air.

Babies and children are the best healers. They keep you busy and create lots of heart melt moments.

You won’t be that fun to be around for a bit. I went through a real bitchy, negative stage. Here is my public apology for putting up with this! I don’t like this side of me but it is a way for the anger to seep out. You will also be jealous of every single person that has a mum helping them out with the kids. Not jealous in a malicious way, just envious because you know how good it is and wish it still was.

You will go and see a psychic. Well I did anyway. It was quite comforting.

Kids see dead people. Hopefully not in The Sixth Sense way, but in a comforting way. My son kept saying he saw my mum, especially in his bedroom. He didn’t seem scared, just happy and very matter of fact about it. Smiling, pointing and saying ‘Jilli there’.

Your sleep will be affected. Panadol helps. You will also feel really tired even if you have rested. My therapist (yep I see one, no shame in my game) assures this is a natural part of grief and to keep the basics up – eat well, exercise and don’t be too hard on yourself.

You will be happy. You will laugh, the great memories will make you smile. I know I have a really, really, really great life, it just sucks that a big part of it isn’t around.

You will get busy living. Nothing like watching your best friend die to give perspective. It is a gift in the loss, and you will start to go for what you really want in life, and focus on what really matters.


What have you learnt through the loss of a loved one? Why do you think our culture shuns death while others seem more comfortable with it?

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  1. Beautiful words Stroudy. It must’ve been very hard to write. I can’t even imagine what you’re thing through but as always, you continue to inspire me to be a better person. Lots of love xxxxx

  2. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up when I read that Leo can see ‘Jilli there’ !

    • It is pretty amazing Sarah! Such a crazy but cool experience. She must of crossed over because he hasn’t seen her in awhile…

  3. Beautifully put Em and a gorgeous pic to go with! Yellow always reminds me of you- bright and positive xxx

  4. Thanks for sharing such a brave and honest account Em. You’re Ma would be proud. Thinking of you always xx

  5. Oh thank you so much for sharing such a vulnerable, beautiful, and helpful post. I have bookmarked this one. Thanks again, and big hugs from a stranger.

    • Wow! Never thought something I wrote would be bookmarked!! THANK YOU! I’m glad you have found it helpful as that is the motivation behind sharing. Thanks also for the cuddles Naomi! X

  6. Great post, my sister died in early September after a long illness. She was only 55. The hardest stage was about three to fours weeks after she died, when all the well wishes and condolences stopped and reality sets in. I’m guessing as you were your Mum’s carer it would be even more difficult. Big hugs to you, but it think having kids makes it easier, life must go on and they are new life, full of fun and laughter! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing Alison.
      I’m so sorry for your loss, losing a sister would be terrible. My mum passed a few weeks after her 52nd birthday so I know how unfair it feels when we lose them in their prime. Yes, you are right, kids do make it easier and I agree, it is so difficult once all the well wishers end.
      I’m sending big virtual hugs right back to you.

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