I recently lost my Grandma to old age. Well that’s what the death certificate said. In truth, by the end, she simply gave up. She had been ill which had knocked her off her feet and whilst she’d recovered slightly, she simply decided she’d had enough. She wanted to, and was ready to, join my Grandad, her partner-in-crime, whom she’d lost ten years previously.
It wasn’t a shock when I got the phone call, her passing was somewhat expected, but it didn’t make it any less painful. My friends were incredibly supportive, but there was little to say, it was just very, very sad. And there is no getting away from that.
Losing someone who has been my life consistently for the whole of my twenty five years is gutting. It took the wind out of me. My brain didn’t function properly, I was numb to everything going on around me. It was like I had stopped yet the world continued in a flurry around me. I tried to do the normal, everyday things, to try and keep up but I couldn’t. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t fight the fact my body and mind were forcing me to stop and absorb and express the sadness I felt.
People say it gets better with time but it doesn’t. You just think about it less. It’s been four weeks now and I’m beginning to feel ‘normal’ again. However, this normality is rocked by the simplest of things – a photo, a smell, a phrase, a look – anything can set off an all-encompassing cloak of sadness and it’s difficult to deal with.
We’re not trained or taught how to deal with sadness. There’s a certain attitude of ‘bury-your-head-in-the-sand and hope nothing bad happens’ around Britain and as such, when our stiff upper lip begins to quiver, we just can’t handle it. I’m not sure how well I handled losing my Grandma really… Sadness is not a topic that’s ever discussed as no-one ever wants to be sad.
I’m a closed book when it comes to deep emotions, I find it very hard to express myself (great personal asset for a writer, no?). So I didn’t. Instead, I surrounded myself with my friends and family who I knew, if and when I wanted to talk, would listen and be supportive. Just having someone there made all the difference to me, and was, in the end how I coped. My friends were brilliant and I will always be grateful to them.
Coping with sadness is a very personal thing. Some people think in silence, others shout and scream, telling everyone who will listen about their problems, some people just cry. However you deal with sadness, the key thing is that you deal with it. Don’t bury your feelings within and ignore the sad feelings. Embrace them and accept them, only then will you really be able to move on.
If you’re struggling with sadness, grief, mourning I urge you to speak to someone and put yourself in a position where your friends and family can support you. And if it’s still getting too much to handle then talk to a professional.
Here’s an advice article about how to deal with sadness. The NHS offers services on all forms of stress, grief and mental illness. And if you just want someone to talk to ring the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.