Can I be ok and not ok at the same time?

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Fog creeping over green and brown trees

Mothers Day. Ugh.

“Our mother is better than yours”

Well yes, I thought. She probably is. Because she’s alive, and mine isn’t, so that sort of makes it easier for yours to be better. It was only an email from a brand, but it really got to me. I’m still thinking about it now. What a stupid, unnecessary, poorly thought-out email subject line. “Our mother is better than yours” it said. Well, duh.

I’m fine! I’m not fine.

That was how quickly it changed for me on Mothers Day. I had had a lovely, relaxed, normal Sunday, surrounded by people I love and doing fun things that kept me calm and sane – like making pancakes and playing boardgames. And then suddenly, I wasn’t fine. We sang my favourite song at church and the grief punched me right in the face.

I didn’t just cry. I wailed. I sobbed. I collapsed into my chair and the despair poured out of me. It was ugly and loud and people in church probably stared. But I don’t care, because it felt SO GOOD. I had been long overdue a cry, and if there is one thing I learnt from counselling it’s that crying, and being sad, is totally great and very healthy.

Ugly crying is a personal favourite of mine because it shows the world that things are brilliant, in a very obvious way. And then, because I have so many incredible, wonderful people in my life, lots of people look after me and care for me. It’s easier almost than texting someone and saying “I’m not ok” – and then waiting for a reply which might not be exactly what you needed when it comes.

Healing tears

I used the words “I’m broken” on Mothers Day. The following day, I told the same person that I felt as those the tears had “healed my wounds”. It sounds contradictory, doesn’t it. But grief isn’t – or at least shouldn’t be – boxed in by a set of rules. You can be broken and whole. You can be sad and happy. You can be confused while you understand. You can be hurting while you are healing.

I want to talk through the taboos, and use this blog to break down barriers that society puts up, that fence the bereaved in and only allow us to react in confined, restricting ways. I want to say, to all those who have been bereaved: you must react in whatever way is natural.

If you lost your mother and Mothers Day wasn’t so bad this year – I salute you. If you lost your mother and Mothers Day was the worst day you’ve had in a long time – I salute you. If you lost your mother and Mothers Day was a day that completely passed you by and had no influence on your life – I salute you.

As for me? I’m ok and not ok

People ask me all the time – how are you? I know they do it because they love and care for me. But sometimes I don’t know what to answer. Because I’m ok. But I’m also not ok. How can I ever really be ok again? I’ll always be a little bit not ok, and that in itself is ok. I’m proud of myself for being honest and open about my struggles, for allowing myself to feel the whole range of bereavement emotions, and for grieving naturally. I hope you can too.

Want to write for Let’s Talk About Loss? We want to hear from you, if you’re aged 18-35 and have been bereaved. Share your story with us and help show others that together, we can talk through the taboos.