From denying death to living life after loss

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Chloe is 16 years old and lost her grandad in March 2017. Here, she shares her story of living with grief.

My first bereavement was one of the hardest things in my life I’ve ever experienced. After I lost my grandad I was on a downwards spiral. I wouldn’t open up about my emotions and if I did I’d always find it as wrong. I didn’t open up and I just sat hiding away and having the worst temper ever, sometimes I’d be super happy and then I’d change and be angry.

My parents and friends usually got the brunt of my anger and it wasn’t fair. I used to get mad about anything really easily, but my friends and parents were the ones who saw me through it in the end. They stuck by me then and now and I am so thankful for them. At first, grandad’s death felt like something was missing all the time and that grandad was just on holiday.

The scary language of death

I stayed in denial for a long time and then when it did hit me, it was followed with a long stage of depression and anxiety about losing anyone else or me being killed. I was having nightmares about death and I hated the words ‘loss’ so instead I used the word ‘passed’ or ‘left’. Now I can say those words and understand what they are. I hope to one day educate my own children or other people about these terms and help them see that they do not need to be afraid to use them.

It’s amazing how much showing and accepting your emotions can do for you

One day it all got to much and I opened up to the lady that helps run my choir – one of the most amazing and inspirational people in my life. She helped me and put me in touch with a couple who run a mentoring scheme for people up to the age of 18. I had an assessment and they said I did need help and that I’d get it as soon as someone was going to be placed with me.

Luckily it only took two weeks for them to find someone to support me and she’s amazing. She has taught me that how I’m feeling is completely normal, and now for our last few weeks together I’m making something to remember my grandad by. It’s amazing how much showing and accepting your emotions can do for you. This lady is the person that has changed my life and I’m so thankful.

Moving on and making grandad proud

This year I got my GCSE results and I’m sure I made my grandad proud. I got into college and despite losing grandad just six weeks after sitting my Health and Social exam, I passed it with flying colours – one of the happiest moments last year. My Nan has also told me it’s okay and we always talk about him and it’s helped lots too.

The first birthday, Christmas and the first year have been so difficult for me but I remembered the times I’ve had with him. Now I’m helping people I know cope with a death of a loved one. I’m telling them to accept their emotions and remember how proud their loved one is of them.

My message to anyone would be this: there is a light at the end of the tunnel and although the road may be rocky, you’ll make it and be stronger from it. I’m now nearly two years on and I’ve never felt stronger. I’ve learned to accept my emotions and feelings, and never to forget the good times with my grandad.

Chloe Hayes

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