Dear @Imogen23, welcome to the forums. Our hearts go out to you for the loss of your Mum – your best friend, so suddenly and so recently. We are very glad you have had the courage to share your grief here on the forums and reach out for help.
It sounds like your Mum’s passing was a huge shock to you and your Dad. The feelings of emptiness and your inability to cry are common reactions to unexpected losses such as this. As time goes on you may also find yourself very distressed, crying uncontrollably, having difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than you would normally. These responses are a very human and normal response to an unexpected grief and loss experience. You can find out more about the different experiences of grief in this article from our Resource Hub.
Your mum sounds like an incredible woman – walking coast to coast in England, not to mention being a role model to you. We would love to hear more about her if you would like to share with us here on the forums. Reminiscing about our loved ones can be very therapeutic and bring you moments of warmth and pride amongst the sorrow.
It might also be comforting for both you and your dad to talk openly about her and perhaps to invite other family members and friends to share in remembering her. You can talk about your precious memories of her and share photos and videos, remember the places that were meaningful to her, play her favourite pieces of music, tell her favourite jokes, smell her perfume…and construct a richer understanding of her life based on your collective experiences. While this can bring up a rollercoaster of emotions it is also a way to honour her and your relationship while experiencing little moments of joy as you immerse yourself in the memories.
Have you heard of continuing bonds? It’s one of the tools we recognise for grief recovery at Griefline. It’s about giving yourself permission to retain your bond with your mum and keep your emotional ties strong. There are lots of ways to do this…some people create a ‘shrine’ of sorts in their home. Somewhere you can go whenever you need to connect with her. You might like to fill it with photos of her, precious mementoes, pieces of her writing, candles – whatever is important to you. Feel free to talk to her – say your goodbyes, cry, reminisce – whatever feels right for you. Some people prefer to create a memory box and might wear one of their loved one’s favourite pieces of clothing, perfume or jewellery. These are all comforting ways to stay close to her.
Another grief recovery tool is journalling – especially in these early stages. The article ‘Mindfulness for Grief‘ tells us to “consider your journal your confidant, a space for you to speak your truth without judgement and untangle confusing thoughts”. You’ll also find prompts to get started with journal writing in the article.
@Imogen23 we hope these strategies help in some way. We would like to support you with more self-care tools as you navigate the grief journey but for now, the most important thing is to surround yourself with caring, supportive people whether they be friends, family, community organisations like the Griefline Helpline and us here on the forums. Hopefully, you’ll reach out to these resources because you deserve so much compassion and understanding at this time.
Please know that you are not alone. We are here for you. 🌸