Mental Health: Speak Out: Grief in the Thirteenth Year.

The 3rd of March is a day when the sun is usually shining. A day when I like to have a pint in the new spring breeze, or eat a nice pub meal and time spend with family. A day of sorrow and joy.

It’s my Dad’s birthday. But he is no longer living and it’s just a very strange day.

This year will be especially hard as it’s a “special” birthday. He would have been sixty. 60, wow.

Our family portrait in 2000

It’s not as bad as the worst day of the year, the day he died, but a close second. I still don’t know how to describe how it feels. Empty seems cold and silly. Upsetting seems somewhat immature and almost outdated as he’s been gone for thirteen years this year. Distressing is not adequate enough because it doesn’t explain the full feeling.

Loss and grief is such a painful process. You truly never get over the loss of a parent, or anyone you’re close with. Whether you are twelve, thirty, fifty or older. It still hurts. It doesn’t matter if they went suddenly, suffered or just disappeared. It doesn’t matter if they were 18, 46, 68, or 96. It hurts.

Writing about it is my way to express myself, relieve some of the emptiness, upset and distress I feel in the weeks up to his birthday, and the day itself. No matter how you feel about grief, or your experiences with it, please always be kind to the people around you who might be feeling the sting of grief.

I was thirteen when I lost my Dad. And it’s thirteen years on the 26th April 2019 since he died. It’s probably the hardest year for me because of the special birthday, the fact myself and my siblings have all grown up, and I’m in a serious relationship where I would love my Dad to know my partner.

Mum and Dad

In some ways when I think of grief I am still thirteen-year-old Becky. Lost. Bewildered. Hurt. Shook. Terrified. Upset. Empty. Distressed. Scared. Horrified. And with that horrible wobbly, sicky, boiling, burning, stinging pain in my chest as I step outside and continue to live my life as though it’s exactly as I would like it to be. Thankfully, my mental health has improved but it still affects me when I think of losing my Dad.

Pain and grief are things we all need to talk about. Mentally and emotionally we need to care and we need to help one another.

Next time a friend or family member is distant or distressed, think about it. What are they facing? How are they feeling? What should I do?

Just be there. Let them grieve, let them feel, and then help them rebuild.

I can’t change how I feel, but I can surround myself with good people, hope and pray, and continue living. Grief never goes, but you can learn to live with it.

Please be there for the people around you who might be having mental health problems, grieving, lost or alone.

Grief matters. Mental health matters. Let’s talk about it.

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