Life

The only people who think there’s a time limit for grief, have never lost a piece of their heart.

I always describe grief like a fine wine. Fine wines get better with age. People dealing with grief get better with age. Maybe that isn’t the best way of describing it, but as someone who has sadly known nothing but grief for virtually their entire life, I of all people know grief becomes something you learn to deal and cope with and not something that passes. Grief becomes easier to deal with over time, and certainly becomes easier the older you get.

Grief is an indescribable feeling. That missing piece of your puzzle is the only thing that is making you feel like this but the only thing that cannot be replaced. To those who have never suffered from grief will never understand. Only those who have loved, lost and desperately tried to deal with the consequences will know exactly how we feel.

I’ve heard many a person say “get over it”. This will be forever be an unfair and cruel comment to make. People who genuinely say this usually have lost and are suffering themselves which makes them bitter because they don’t know how to deal with it. Those people who don’t deal with it will end up broken.

A loss most certainly makes you stronger. But what if I didn’t want to be as strong as this? What if I had no other choice? Grief at times has left me broken too. But now I’m doing better than I ever have. It’s been 18 years. After all, if you’ve lived through this you deal with anything. One has to learn to channel the negative energy into doing something amazing. All that anger, that frustration and the long for love has to be turned into becoming the best person you can ever be. It’s a rough old road out there but we can all make it. I’ve heard people say “Not everyone’s as strong as you” so many times. But to be quite honest I didn’t really have a choice. You either give up or fight so hard. It’s okay not to be okay, cliche as it sounds. Surround yourself with things that will make you feel fortunate. I don’t feel very fortunate. I really don’t. But I know that I am fortunate enough to have opportunities which can help me give back to those who really are MUCH less fortunate than me. Things like this are key in becoming a better person. A happier person. Seeing someone else smile, because YOU made them smile will make you feel warm inside no matter how distraught you are.

Life is hard. And so we are reminded all the time. Memes, self-help books, TV programmes, and counsellors all tell us constantly how tough it is out there. But is there really an explanation for so much suffering and the indescribable feelings that are left with family and friends after someone has gone? Those that have never suffered like this will never actually truly believe that heartache is real. Believe me, my heart ACHES. It aches for what was supposed to be, for that missing piece of the puzzle. I always imagine heart ache in such a weird way. I imagine all these little men with ropes tied around your heart tugging and pulling away so much that the heart just hurts. It’s exhausted and it craves the attention and love that it needs to be healthy and complete again.

No one wants to live their life like this. Everyone wants a healthy heart. No one wants to feel continuous heart ache. But when the only way of moving forward is trying to block it out altogether it becomes something that turns around and slaps you right in the face. Depression. Not all people suffering from grief suffer from depression too, but when you have no choice other than to pick yourself up and ignore the constant heart ache it hits you like a train. Those crazy mixed up feelings combined of not confronting your problems, not being able to think about your memories with that person and not being able to understand why you feel like this.
You talk to friends. They tell you to remember the good times, remember all those beautiful memories you made together. But sadly the reality is that it’s not always like that. Sometimes the memories are too hard to think about. The photos, the videos, the stories just bring it all back. It simply just reinforces the fact that the person isn’t with you anymore. Sometimes just seeing their face brings you too much pain, not the desired comfort you were looking for. All types of grief are different, people deal with it in so, so, so many different ways. One video of a loved one could be one person’s comfort compared to another’s nightmare. To me it brings me so much pain.

Sometimes you can’t even remember the good times. Sometimes you were too young to even remember them. Sometimes you are forced to form your own memories of a person consisting of other people’s stories and photos. Sometimes you have to grieve for someone you never even knew you had.

This person was me. And the person I lost was my Mother.

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OUT OF THE SHOWROOM AND INTO THE AMBULANCE

It was 2010. April 2010.

Today was the day I was going to pick up my new car. This wasn’t any old car. This was a new Mini Cooper. I’d was just about to fork out £12,000 on this shiny sexy number. Having £12,000 aged 18 is a whole other story, but we’ll leave that one for next time. That really is one you’ll want to read. Believe me.

So the day arrives. I wake up at the crack of dawn on my weekend off with a smile plastered over my face. I’d just been in a whirlwind few months sacking off college and being deeply unmotivated with life and I’d passed my driving test a few months earlier after 5 FAILED ATTEMPTS. I REPEAT 5 FAILED ATTEMPTS.

I’d spotted Maisy the Mini on the Mini Cooper website and oh my she looked so very beautiful. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to be able to drive this car right out the very showroom and she would be called my own. I was actually very confused. I didn’t really know why I chose this car. I knew it was a too higher litre for me and cost a fortune in petrol. Not to mention, THE INSURANCE. Oh my sweet baby Jesus, mother of mary, this car was costing £4,000 per year to insure. WAS I COMPLETELY INSANE?

Answer: Yes. Yes I was. I think life caught me up in a hot air balloon and wouldn’t let me down. I don’t think I was let down until I’d learnt all my lessons. Very, very harsh lessons and my balloon was burst and down, down, down I fell. To the very bottom.

Here I am, 18 years old skipping into Mini Cooper and singing the documents with my immature signature. I handed over my card and made the payment. She passed me the keys. I walked over to my new vehicle and smelt the leather. She was stunning. I was caught up in my balloon desperate to show off my new toy. I wasn’t even thinking. I couldn’t think straight. I look back and wonder why no one helped me. I was an entire mess. Actually, this is yet again a whole other story which you really will want to read. I’ll give you that soon.

I was terrified. I had no idea how to handle this car and had virtually no experience driving minus my failed attempts at life (sorry, I mean driving tests). My Dad jumped in next to me. I knew he was terrified. Like any Dad, he wanted me to have a cheap, clapped out old banger to drive around in, in case anything happened (famous last words). But I also knew deep down that he was slightly impressed with this flashy pimped out vehicle.

I was off. I took to the road. It went a lot faster than any other car I had driven before and I hit the road revving and unable to maintain much control. My nerves had got the better of me this time. After half hour tuition I hit the road again and felt much more confident. I put in my freshly burned CD and wound down the windows. It was a super hot day and my Dad was impressed on how well I was doing. A smile grew across my face and my red hair blew in the wind. For the next hour I felt so so happy. Chasing that temporary happiness always was my forte.

I arrived back to my house. The sun gleamed off the freshly waxed car. I jumped out banged on the front door, desperate to show the rest of my family. I couldn’t leave my new baby alone; I just wanted to keep on driving. The day was getting hotter and hotter by the minute. I opened the double sunroof and called my best friend, telling her the news. I was off to go pick her up and seize the day.

I tooted my horn. I could not have been more excited. These rough few months felt temporarily paused and I was living again. As stupid as it may sound, my freedom and independence meant so much to me, I knew I could never look back.

We were off. I hit the road, unaware where I was heading. I just kept on driving. I didn’t know these roads, especially not the bloody M25 and I was feeling brave, like nothing could stop me. I was driving so far that we ended up pulling into a random ASDA car park to stop for a break and work out exactly where we were.

I knew I didn’t really feel in control of that car. I knew it.

We discovered we were over near Orpington away. It was a fair drive from home but neither of us had any plans. I pulled off down the road. We hit traffic. I turned up the music. Blu Cantrell, Breathe was playing, one of old favourites. I turned to laugh and chat with my best friend. My moved forward at about 20 miles an hour and gazed ahead of me.

Then out of nowhere, a huge almighty BANG startled me. Before I knew it there was a cloud of smoke and the car was out of control. I grabbed so tightly to the wheel, screaming. I locked eyes with my friend sensing the look of fear and terror in her eyes. We both remained intensely looking at each other desperate for some comfort. I knew the car was being thrown over the other side of the road. I knew it was heading towards a fence. I just screamed and pain and shock just fell over me. I jolted forward at serious speed and the airbags burst out attacking me hard in the face. My seatbelt locked hard on my right arm and the window shattered.
We had stopped. I looked up to see if my friend was alright. The first thing that came into my head was the overcoming sense of guilt and panic that I just caused this to my friend. I was terrified she was hurt. I couldn’t even care less what had happened to me.

I immediately started shouting “my arm, my arm” before realising that the car was smoking. All I could think of was the entire car going up in flames, like you see on the movies. That would be a little dramatic I thought. My door was bent in towards me and I couldn’t open it. I was screaming to get out of the car. I threw myself across the front seat to the passenger seat and we were out. I find myself on the other side of the road to where I had been before, with the traffic all stopped and staring. One woman ran over and turned off my music. It was apparently very loud still and playing even though the car was in literal tatters.

The next hour was a complete blur. I went into shock, which I later discovered was very serious and started to pace up and down the road. I was running and crying and my heart pounded on my chest. I was cradling my right arm like a baby. The next thing I remember was sitting on the grass bank outside someone’s house with a man asking me multiple questions. He told me he was a paramedic and I had to listen to him otherwise I could be in serious danger.

I have never really understood what really happened during that shock period, but I tell you what, I never, ever want to feel like that again. So out of control and out an out of body experience.
I started uncontrollably crying, and within an hour I was screaming down the phone at my Dad and the insurance company. I literally had no idea what to do. This was my first car, my first day driving a car by myself and my first insurance contract. It was a whirlwind of panic.

An ambulance arrived. It parked up next to my crumpled Maisy. The paramedics jumped out and pulled me into the van for tests and questions. “Was I drinking?” (No, but i bloody wish i was…) It was all pretty simple. I was lucky to not have been anymore seriously hurt but I had severe whiplash and scarring from the airbags and seatbelt.

My Dad arrived. I saw him pull up and he looked devastated. The look of panic made me uncontrollably cry and scream. I have no idea how or why that crash scared me so much. I like to be in control. It’s something I’ve always had trouble with. If I’m not in control I feel terrified and panicked. I wasn’t in control of that car.
As I arrived home, I fell into a deep, deep depression. My arm was in pieces and didn’t stop crying every day for two weeks straight. Something I have unfortunately experienced many times before. It brought a whole sea of emotions flooding up. I was humiliated that I had crashed my first car, within HOURS of driving it out of the showroom and felt horrendous guilt for putting my friend in danger. I had flashbacks of being out of control and after working so hard to get to this point I had just lost my independence once again within a few short moments.

I never got back Maisy. She was entirely written off. I had hit an island in the middle of the road, popped a tyre and the car had been flung out of control. I could not believe it. It wasn’t just a little damage; I’d managed to write the ENTIRE vehicle off and it had to be scrapped. That gives you a little perspective on exactly how bad it was.

It took me a long time to drive again. I’d lost all my confidence. I’m sure this is something a lot of people can relate to. But now, I turn back and laugh.

And think “Hell yeah, lots more shit to write for my blog.
And one day, my book.”