Frozen Peas

I think the thing with grief is that I always want to know the why or the what; Why did I break down after a perfectly nice weekend? What was the trigger?

Have you seen the film 13 going on 30? It’s not my type of film but basically a 13-year old girl goes to bed and wakes up the next day 30 years old, and a similar thing happened to me recently.

On Sunday night, I went to bed and woke up 23 again, in 2018. I woke up with all of the fresh pain and the memories of my mum passing away. I felt frantic and only wanted to speak to the people who were around me then.

When my mum was really ill there was almost a procedure; have I given her all her tablets? Does she need something stronger? Is this a 111 situation or a 999 phone call? And then we’d wait for whatever service to come to our house.

And since learning to live without her and with my grief a similar kind of thing has developed; okay, this is hurts really bad, get your headphones, let’s go for a walk. Still hurting? Run yourself a bath, make a hot water bottle. If I’m still hurting, I’ll sift through my memory box and sit with my grief. Normally, after a really good cry there is a sense of relief where I am empty of tears and able to go to bed knowing tomorrow is a new day.

That feeling never came this time. I continued to cry for 3 days, desperate to speak with my old support network. I was so desperate to just curl up on the sofa with my cat. I was horrified to think that she too has passed away just 9 months ago.

On the 3rd day, I phoned Evee and we decided it was best to phone a couple of wellbeing services as this was not normal. I didn’t know why this was happening to me, but I thought I might end up in hospital. Didn’t I just write a post expressing my happiness

Thankfully, on the Wednesday evening, I was back in present day, unsure as to where the previous 3 had melted away to but relieved to finally welcome that tired peace that comes after a good cry, and I slept.

It is impossible to know the why or the what all of the time. But I do know that grief is a lifelong journey that I’ll never stop learning about. I do know what I need and when I need it, which is a great achievement. And after this 3 day episode, I do know that I need a little extra help right now, and that is more than okay to admit.

Grief is neither linear nor straightforward. This has not been a step backward, just another step along this weird grief journey. Anyone who knows grief knows it ebbs and flows. This wave ebbed and flowed me right back to a cold winter after Mum passed away, somewhere I haven’t visited for a while. And, it just so happens that this was a particularly large ebb or flow (i’m not sure which), and I just need a little help manoeuvring through this.

A few positive things to come from this experience:

1 – Evee and I now have an emergency emoji code, so we know when either of us is suffering particularly badly. It’s the green circle emoji because it resembles the frozen peas I have to put on my eyelids after crying for quite a while (haha).

2 – When I cried down the phone to a really kind new transition worker that “I just missed my mum so much” she asked, “Well have you tried phoning her?” (!!!). I can’t be angry at all, she just simply didn’t know. But Evee and I did have a good laugh and we’ve added it to the list of funny things people have said to us while we are grieving.

3 – Obviously, there are some things I need to work through and it’s time that your girl went back to counselling! Definitely a positive note in my book – knowing you need help and asking for it is not a weakness. I sincerely hope you are never made to feel that it is.

4 – Also, yes, I did just write a post about being happy. And even after this experience, I am still a happy person 🙂

5 – And finally, I know that people are so good. I have so much love and support around me from so many people who care, and for them I am forever thankful.

~

Evee and I have been a little less active on our blog recently, as we are focusing a little more energy to get our monthly grief cafes off of the ground. I know I say it all of the time, but we are so proud to have built such a positive resource from such a dark period in our lives. If you’d like to learn more about, or book your ticket, for our next cafe, please click this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-grief-cafe-tickets-124990059633?ref=estw

It would be lovely to see you there!

We hope to resume normal blogging soon! Thank you for your support

As we head back into another national lockdown, I hope you feel safe. I hope you take time with yourself and I hope you go gently. You are doing so well.

Katie x

19 thoughts on “Frozen Peas

  1. Gibberish – smiling through adversities is my mantra. plethora of emotions. love solitude. like the sound of my own thoughts. love rom coms and good reads. travel to heal. and so so much more.
    Gibberish says:

    Katie your words resonate so strongly with me that I can’t even begin to tell….all I can say is that crying is really therapeutic…you should allow yourself to ‘indulge’ every once a while to feel lighter and move on ahead…much love to you

  2. Carol – Ann Arbor, MI – Serial software entrepreneur, writer, French to English translator, mother, lover of: books, travel, history, cultures, cooking, fitness, nature
    Carol says:

    I’m new to your blog so don’t know all you went through since your mother’s death, but when you mentioned that a new worker had suggested giving her a call I took the suggestion seriously. I’m not a religious person but as my mother was dying and nearly daily after her death, I would “talk” to her. In fact, I would often direct these one-sided conversations toward a tree in my backyard. Sounds a bit far out but I’ve always derived strength from nature and I liked imagining that my mother’s spirit was encased in the tree. I didn’t really believe that but one thing I did come to believe is that my mother hadn’t left me. I gave birth to twins 4 months after her death. My kids distracted me from grief and while it was painful to not have my mother with me, watching them grow, I clearly saw that many of my motherly instincts came directly from her. She was vividly present, even if not in the flesh. It would be wonderful if I could truly talk and laugh with her again—she was the closest person to being my twin that I’ll ever know. But I refuse to accept that she is gone. In so many ways, she’s with me every day.

  3. DutchIl – Retired, over the hill and gathering speed....no significant other.... Independent, a free spirit in thinking... born again heathen complete with long hair and earrings :) ...not into religious, political or social ideologies... not above sailing against the wind.... exploring life while hanging around to see how it all ends... From the poem Journey of Self Discovery.; I my setting on a journey of my own, The mistakes I make shall be mine, The regrets shall be my defined, Its fall or rise, Time will play a key role, As Frost said, I have an option of two paths ahead of me, One pre decided by my ancestors, less risky and challenging, Other of my own, I decide to take the less travelled one, To mark on journey of my own. (Illahi Bedi) Veteran, SGT, USMC (Vietnam, in country 1965-66, 12th Marine Regiment). COOP/SWOP Observer (since 2001 to present), NWS, ILX, NOAA, Dept of Commerce, USA. Met Weather Office, United Kingdom. Ebird (Cornell Lab of Orinthology/Audubon society). Member; (since 2005 to present) BOINC Project (University of Berkeley, Calif.); Princess Margaret Cancer Center/World Community Grid (Mapping Cancer), Setihome (astrophysics/astrobiology University of Berkeley, Calif.). “Everyday on the path least traveled brings change, that change presents a challenge, mentally and physically, as to how to accept it and deal with it, generates an excitement about living a second of time and looking forward to what the next second of time brings, looking forward to life and enjoying it.” Larry “Dutch” Woller 6/9/2016 “If there is any kindness I can show, or any good I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again” William Penn.
    DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing!!… in time your heart will mend because you Mom’s love is still there… 🙂

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there, I do not sleep
    I am a thousand winds that blow
    I am the diamonds glints in the snow
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain
    I am the gentle autumn rain
    When you awaking in the morning hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight
    I am the soft star that shines at night
    Do not stand by my grave and cry
    I am not there, I did not die
    (Mary Frye)

  4. carol hopkins – Canada – I am Canadian. I love this beautiful country and hope to discover more of it.. I enjoy writing, photography, and walks on nature trails and beaches. I am passionate about human rights and my favourite stories to read are uplifting and inspirational stories. I believe in the innate nobility of the human spirit and I endeavor to be positive. I have learned many lessons over the years, but most importantly I have witnessed the inherent goodness of peoples near and far. I hope my writing reflects that. All photographs used in my blog are mine, unless otherwise stated. Contact: camhopkins97@gmail.com
    carol hopkins says:

    Aw, Katie, my heart goes out to you. I was 28 when my mother died. She went in the hospital to learn how to take insulin by injection. When they did her blood work, they found the cancer, she was in hospital for ten days. She died on the 10th day and exactly 10 days before her 59th birthday. I tell you this so you know I really can empathize. The loss of a mother, particularly if you were close, (as I was, and as you were) is a loss like no other. I am sending massive hugs and huge amounts of loving energy to you and to your sister. I am so glad you understand that grief is a journey, one that can be a rabbit hole at times, with loss of hours, days, or more. I am glad you are reaching out and looking for the help you know you need. That takes courage, especially when your soul feels like it’s just had a huge hole blown in it.

    I find this whole pandemic has the tendency to cause grief – it’s like an underlying cloud that colors most of my days and I wonder if all the stress we are living under would not have triggered your traumatic grief episode. I don’t know. But I do think this pandemic is having a huge impact on the mental health of the world at large – so many unknowns, so much uncertainty. It stands to reason that many of us will have days of high anxiety as we live through it.

    At any rate, I hope you will find tools to help you through this and all the support you need. God bless and comfort you through this painful time.

    1. Hi Carol, thank you for your comment and your kind kind words of support. I am sorry to hear that you have been through something similar to us.

      I agree, the pandemic shines a bright light on grief and lockdown makes it that much harder to tend to it.

      They say that time heals which I have always believed, but the current pandemic just makes me wonder whether everyday life just acts as a distraction and fills our time so we focus less on the grief.

      Sending you love and support x

      1. carol hopkins – Canada – I am Canadian. I love this beautiful country and hope to discover more of it.. I enjoy writing, photography, and walks on nature trails and beaches. I am passionate about human rights and my favourite stories to read are uplifting and inspirational stories. I believe in the innate nobility of the human spirit and I endeavor to be positive. I have learned many lessons over the years, but most importantly I have witnessed the inherent goodness of peoples near and far. I hope my writing reflects that. All photographs used in my blog are mine, unless otherwise stated. Contact: camhopkins97@gmail.com
        carol hopkins says:

        Thanks so much. I think the pandemic brings its own causes for grieving, so many day to day losses and curtailment of freedoms we previously enjoyed. Sending hugs and positive energy. Be gentle with yourselves as you traverse the grief road(s).

  5. I recall a weirded out moment years back: When one night I had a sudden overwhelming feeling of grief. It was a few years after my daughter had died. It was like an intense fight or flight feeling. I thought if I don’t act on it I would start to cry and send myself into an early grave to join her. I didn’t know what I was going to do once I got there, but I got onto my pushbike and cycled the miles it was to the graveyard. Once I arrived I couldn’t bring myself to go in in the dark. I had a new mix to the emotions and it was fear. I stood looking over the wall, with the cycle under me, gazing into the darkness, street lights behind me and cars occasionally going past. There she was in there, here I was outside and that was how it was. After a while I knew it was time to cycle back home and did. I feel now that the action of doing that physical effort, might have actually prevented my mind from making my body go into a meltdown.

  6. I love this blog because you are taking care of you. For me grieving is a process that indicates I need to be accepting of the questions because, for so many things, there are no answers. Can I experience a quality life and still have questions that will never be answered? Take care of you.

    1. Hi Bryan, yes I think a great part of grief is learning to accept without ever knowing the answers or reasons why. I think quality of life comes from this acceptance and relinquishing control with grace. Thank you for commenting!

  7. Beautiful and honest. Katie your writing is so inspiring, the raw authenticity makes me feel like I have known you a lifetime. Seeking help is great and should never be seen as a weakness, you put it so well, just another step on this journey. Strength to you.
    Respect
    Sean

    1. Thank you Gary! It’s great to hear from you! How have you been?? If you are free this Sunday (6th) Evee and I would love to have you at our grief cafe. We are going to light candles to remember our loved ones. I think there is something really special about lighting a candle at the same time no matter where we are in the world, to feel connected and remember that none of us is alone. Please let me know if you’d like to attend

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