Can I be ok and not ok at the same time?

Mothers Day. Ugh.

“Our mother is better than yours”

Well yes, I thought. She probably is. Because she’s alive, and mine isn’t, so that sort of makes it easier for yours to be better. It was only an email from a brand, but it really got to me. I’m still thinking about it now. What a stupid, unnecessary, poorly thought-out email subject line. “Our mother is better than yours” it said. Well, duh.

I’m fine! I’m not fine.

That was how quickly it changed for me on Mothers Day. I had had a lovely, relaxed, normal Sunday, surrounded by people I love and doing fun things that kept me calm and sane – like making pancakes and playing boardgames. And then suddenly, I wasn’t fine. We sang my favourite song at church and the grief punched me right in the face.

I didn’t just cry. I wailed. I sobbed. I collapsed into my chair and the despair poured out of me. It was ugly and loud and people in church probably stared. But I don’t care, because it felt SO GOOD. I had been long overdue a cry, and if there is one thing I learnt from counselling it’s that crying, and being sad, is totally great and very healthy.

Ugly crying is a personal favourite of mine because it shows the world that things are brilliant, in a very obvious way. And then, because I have so many incredible, wonderful people in my life, lots of people look after me and care for me. It’s easier almost than texting someone and saying “I’m not ok” – and then waiting for a reply which might not be exactly what you needed when it comes.

Healing tears

I used the words “I’m broken” on Mothers Day. The following day, I told the same person that I felt as those the tears had “healed my wounds”. It sounds contradictory, doesn’t it. But grief isn’t – or at least shouldn’t be – boxed in by a set of rules. You can be broken and whole. You can be sad and happy. You can be confused while you understand. You can be hurting while you are healing.

I want to talk through the taboos, and use this blog to break down barriers that society puts up, that fence the bereaved in and only allow us to react in confined, restricting ways. I want to say, to all those who have been bereaved: you must react in whatever way is natural.

If you lost your mother and Mothers Day wasn’t so bad this year – I salute you. If you lost your mother and Mothers Day was the worst day you’ve had in a long time – I salute you. If you lost your mother and Mothers Day was a day that completely passed you by and had no influence on your life – I salute you.

As for me? I’m ok and not ok

People ask me all the time – how are you? I know they do it because they love and care for me. But sometimes I don’t know what to answer. Because I’m ok. But I’m also not ok. How can I ever really be ok again? I’ll always be a little bit not ok, and that in itself is ok. I’m proud of myself for being honest and open about my struggles, for allowing myself to feel the whole range of bereavement emotions, and for grieving naturally. I hope you can too.

Want to write for Let’s Talk About Loss? We want to hear from you, if you’re aged 16-30 and have been bereaved. Share your story with us and help show others that together, we can talk through the taboos.


It’s a “merci” from me

I want to start this post by saying a HUGE thank you to you – yes you! Thanks to all our amazing supporters, Let’s Talk About Loss has recently raised £1,347 – smashing my ambitious target of £1000! Thank you so much to everyone who generously supported the project, and watch this space for more news about all the exciting plans I have in place for how the money is going to improve and grow the work of Let’s Talk About Loss.

Image result for thank you pusheen

Below I’ve started to explain a little about my priorities at the moment, so do read on if you’d like to find out more!

The importance of understanding

In a world of conflict and mistrust, it’s worth remembering that we are all human, and have more that unites us than makes us different. But sometimes, it is hard to understand those around us. Perhaps their circumstances have never affected us, their background is not the same as ours, or their outlook on life is unique. It is often the case with those who have been bereaved that others find it hard to understand exactly what has happened, and can therefore make misjudgements and mistakes. There are two ways that I want to use Let’s Talk About Loss to combat this issue:

1 – Let’s Talk About Loss meet-ups

On Saturday 10 March 2018, we held the first meet-up for Let’s Talk About Loss. It was a great success – with young people sharing their experiences in a safe space to others who had been bereaved. The thing that struck me the most was how many people were nodding along, laughing at things only the bereaved would understand – like my anger at one specific Mothers Day promotion that said ‘our mother is better than yours’ – and saying “yes I can relate to that”, “I totally understand that”, “I feel the same”.

How fantastic is it that Let’s Talk About Loss is already helping young people in Nottingham to see that they are not alone and isolated in their bereavement, but can meet with other young people and talk openly and honestly about how they feel. I am very proud to be one of those young people, breaking down the barriers in society by talking about my mental health battles and the struggles of grief. Keep your eyes peeled – there will be another meet-up soon!

2 – Helping others to understand the issues

Alongside the meet-ups which help those who have been bereaved, I think it’s really important to assist those who haven’t been bereaved in understanding the grieving process, to better equip them to support their friends and family members when the unthinkable happens.

For this to happen, I need your help! If you support Let’s Talk About Loss but haven’t been bereaved yourself, what sort of content might you find helpful? What do you struggle with when it comes to bereavement – is it what to say? Is it how long to wait until you treat someone normally again? Is it how to approach anniversaries?

I want to help us all talk about loss better, whether we’ve experienced loss or not. I’ll be writing posts specifically aimed towards those people who may know someone who has been bereaved, encouraging them in how to respond appropriately and sensitively.

Together, we can talk through the taboos. Get in touch today to shape the future of Let’s Talk About Loss and suggest how we can work together to make the conversation around grief easier.

Love, Beth x

And once again, it’s Mothers Day

A beautiful piece from my sister Helen to remember our gorgeous mum this Mothers Day…

Mother’s Day – the day where you’re meant to celebrate your mother. She’s done a incredible amount for you over your lifetime – raised you, taught you everything you know, and watched you grow into the amazing person you are. Three years since mum passed away, I have finally plucked up the courage to write a piece for this blog.

Mothers Day is everywhere

When you walk around shops, Mother’s Day is everywhere. There is no way we can avoid the lovely presents, flowers, cards in window shops. Although it is a tough day for anyone who has lost their mother, I find myself looking at the gifts with a smile on my face, thinking how much mum would have loved everything in the Cath Kidston shop! I suppose my message for anyone reading this today is to celebrate your mum as best you can, because sadly one day she won’t be here and you’ll have wished you did.

Whether a good thing or bad thing, I have coped with grief by trying to push it to one side and get on with daily life. I avoid the subject matter in conversation to stop the lump in my throat and teary eyes I seem to get every time I talk about mum. I know that talking about it more would help, but it is not always easy. When mum passed away, it was fairly short and hopefully pain-free. She was able to stay at home, and was surrounded by her family. However, an 18 year old as I was should not be watching her mum pass away, or choosing the music for her mum’s cremation – I should have been out partying, carefree!  Mum was taken far too soon from us, but sadly cancer can be like that – for some there is no second chance, no option to avoid it.

Does it get easier?

Easter is a special time, as it will be Mothers Day, Easter and my 21st birthday, all in a short space of time. This will be the third birthday I celebrate without mum, but this one is an extra special milestone and to not have her on the day celebrating with me will be tough. However, having my family around me, and sharing happy memories and photos means we can remember mum positively, and laugh together as we reminisce.

“She might not be here in person but she is with me everywhere I go and in everything I do”

“It will get easier”, everyone tells you. But it doesn’t, not for me. My grief is only getting worse but I’m also learning to cope so that grief doesn’t swallow me up and rule my life. I find myself smiling at the little things, like mum’s favourite roses or walking past her favourite chocolates, Ferrero Rocher, as I walk round the supermarket. She might not be here in person but she is with me everywhere I go and in everything I do. I have permanently borrowed all of her Joules clothes, favourite scarves and Cath Kidston bags (sorry mum!). It is crazy how you find yourself turning into your parents without meaning to – I have mum’s driving skills and ability to dent cars easily! And I often find myself talking to random strangers in queues just like dad does, even though it used to be a huge embarrassment!

Thankful despite the heartbreak

I am thankful on a daily basis for a wonderful group of friends, work colleagues and the most amazing family for keeping me going. Just two weeks after mum died, dad forced me to a young farmers party. It felt so wrong to have fun so close to mums death, but just a few hours to myself was immensely useful, and there I met my boyfriend Jono, who after three years together I have a lot to thank for! I also have to thank exercise, however silly it sounds, as by going to the gym, for a swim or a walk after work, I feel refreshed after taking the time to focus my mind on something else.

My message for anyone reading this is simple: celebrate your parents everyday, however annoying they might seem, because you never know what is round the corner. Treat them, cook for them and buy them flowers, because I would give up everything in a heartbeat to be able to be with mum again. Life is precious and we should never take it for granted.

And mum – I love you to the moon and back and hope you’re watching me and I’m making you proud!

Love H xx

Want to write something for Let’s Talk About Loss? We’d love that! Email or drop us a message on Facebook.

Life after losing a sibling

The amazing Holly Clark writes a powerful blog at all about the reality of sibling grief. Holly lost her sister Emy when she was only 17, and is determined to use her voice to help other young people. She’s a true inspiration to me – please read and share this blog post and visit Holly’s site to read more of her story.

I lost my sister at the age of 17, she was 18. She beat cancer twice and yet science failed her, after complications to a stem cell transplant she passed after 415 days post transplant. She set up a blog ‘remission possible’ during her treatment to help other teenagers with cancer, like her.

Nearly two years after her death I decided to set up a blog of my own. Using the success of her own blog as my inspiration, but using my own experiences to help others. Grief is something I have become very familiar with. I talk very openly about Emily, I love people asking me questions, I’m extremely proud of her and being able to call her my sister.

“I want to be that voice for other grieving teens who feel they are alone”

I want to stop death being a taboo subject. People shouldn’t avoid the topic, it is a part of our lives and often the ones grieving feel they can’t talk about the loved one they lost because of not wanting to make friends feel awkward or push them away.

I set up my blog ‘Remembering Emy’ to reach out to teenagers like me, following in my sister’s footsteps. I want to be that voice for other grieving teens who feel they are alone and can’t speak up. I feel alone, I don’t know anyone in a similar situation as I am in, since setting this blog up a month ago I’ve had an overwhelming response from people who can relate, a lot of ways I grieve I felt ‘it’s just me’. I didn’t think it was a ‘normal’ response to losing someone but through my blog I found so many people agree and felt the same way, so as well as helping others, the blog has helped me with my experience of grief.

Please read my blog and contact me if you want to share your own experiences with grief and loss.

Love, Holly

Visit Holly’s website to find out more about her story. If you would like your blog to be featured, email and I’ll be in touch!

Keeping the faith

A fantastic post written by Stuart Andrade, first posted on his blog and shared with Let’s Talk About Loss – it is so brave and honest, and I hope it helps you…

4th March 2018

Have you ever felt like giving up? Have you ever wanted to just walk away from things, never to return and think of doing something totally different with the way you live your life? This, I am sure, is a common theme that reverberates around a lot of people and they way they think about their day to day lives. We are so busy trying to cram everything in to such a short space of time that we forget to make time for the most important person…yourself.

Recently I have found a few things tough going again.  I’m not going to say everything has been easy, despite me being a confident person who can talk to absolutely anyone in any situation. Lately I have had my confidence knocked by a few things, and when feeling like this, have not been in the mood to exercise and look after myself. I feel like I have lost all motivation of doing anything.

I think this all started when my dad passed away five years ago unexpectedly. Mum passed after suffering cancer for a second time in 2010 and although sad and tragic, it didn’t hit me as hard as dad and I think this is because with mum, watching her deteriorate over time, it was like a relief that she was no longer in any pain and that she was free from it all. I can remember dad calling me at 2am and saying, “It’s happened son” almost with relief in his voice as the woman he was married to for 50 years had slipped away in her sleep. That day I still went about my normal day and still watched England play football versus the USA in the first game of the 2010 World Cup. The scoreline didn’t help but I was still surrounded by my friends at the pub who were surprised to see me out and looking so normal. The grief I faced didn’t really hit me. I was expecting to be hit by a tidal wave of emotion afterwards, but nothing. No tears, no anger, just this sense of relief.

Hard decisions

I chose not to see mum in the chapel of rest as I wanted my last memory of her to be when I saw her the day before, smiling at me when I said goodbye that one final time. The funeral came and it was quite an event if I can call it that. The flowers, the words said about my mum were amazing. Still no grief through. When would it hit?

Life went on, I moved house with my wife, gained a promotion, got married to Sammy in 2012 and our little daughter Olivia was growing so much everyday. By the time it got to 2013, things were looking good. In the January I had an accident playing football and tore my knee ligament, fractured my ankle and damaged ankle ligaments too. I was off work and on crutches when a few days later my wife’s grandad passed away. I was at the hospital when he died and was sat outside as the memories of my mum came flooding back. After a while, I was asked if I wanted to go in and pay my respects. I was hesitant as I’d never seen a dead body. I didn’t know what to expect but it was peaceful, quiet and whilst people were upset, that feeling of relief had come back. We sat in the room for what seemed like ages whilst everyone said their goodbyes.

The year went on without any issues, dad was still fine and bearing up, until July came along. Sammy and Olivia were going on a small holiday with her other nan. We visited my dad on the Sunday, it was a gloriously hot day, we had lunch and then it was time to go. Olivia idolised my dad Ted and he loved Olivia so, so much. He would always buy her Maltesers when he saw her as a treat and tell her loads of stories. I can remember dad saying “Don’t forget to tell me all about your holiday darling!! Come back and see me”. We said goodbye, but for some reason, I said goodbye a little longer than usual. I gave him a kiss as I always did and hugged him that little bit longer. “Get out of it you silly sod!” He said to me. We laughed and left.

A couple of days later whilst I was at home, I got a call from one of my brothers. The sort of call which you wouldn’t wish on anyone. His tone was straight, no emotion and he simply said “Dad’s dead”. I asked why he would say such a wicked thing? “Listen to me, come over now. Don’t worry, everything is going to be ok.” I remember dropping the phone and falling to the floor. I screamed out dad, I was shaking, crying, panicking, worrying, every emotion you can image. I got in the car and drove straight round. When I arrived, I saw the ambulance and police car in the drive and knew it was true. I sobbed as I entered the house. Both brothers were there and we all hugged.

Dad just passed away in his sleep. No pain, no heart attack which I thought he’d had, just his heart stopped beating. It was his time. He was 78. Now when you say 78, you think of old men. Dad was still active, he’d still drive, he still went to watch his beloved Tottenham Hotspur and went shopping. It didn’t make sense to me and I couldn’t understand it. We had the funeral a couple of weeks later and I was numb with the shock of it still.  That is when it hit me. The grief that had been bottled up since mum dying had coming pouring out now I had lost both parents within three years of each other. I had little interest in things, didn’t eat well, found myself goring on the wrong things and being so down. In October, Sammy’s nan died after a short illness and in December my uncle also died. Four people lost in 2013.

Help at hand

I decided that I needed to speak to someone about how I was feeling. Now I am a big guy, 6ft 6 and about 18st (give or take!), so for me to pluck up the courage to visit a doctor and tell him how I was feeling was a big thing. The doctor couldn’t have been more helpful and whilst I broke down in tears again, he comforted me and said that I had been through so much that it isn’t a surprise that I was feeling the way I was. He said the words I dreaded. “You are suffering with depression.” Depression? No that can’t be right, I don’t feel like that surely? Well looking back I was. He put me in touch with a counsellor and I started to see Vivien on a weekly basis.

Vivien was so lovely and helpful that each week, I would look forward to our meetings and use it as chance to get everything off of my chest. She made me talk about things which I didn’t think were troubling me but on reflection they were. She helped me overcome some of the things which made me sad and urged me concentrate on the things that were good.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The thing with grief is that there is NO TIME LIMIT on how long we are expected to experience grief. Too many times people in the past used to say “Chin up mate, you’ll be ok” – well I can tell you from first hand knowledge that grief could last one day to 30 years. It is how we handle the way it affects us, how we go about things that is important.

Yes, I am on medication for depression, I am not ashamed to admit it. It used to be such a stigma that it was frowned upon. The time we live in and people’s attitudes towards mental health and grief are changing. Even at the time of writing this, my wife and I have both lost aunts this year already. Yes, it is sad to lose loved ones but we have handled things a lot better for the sake of each other and our two daughters than we did in the past.

Don’t be afraid to show your emotions. Don’t feel like you have to bottle things up. Be proud that you have recognised that something isn’t right and reach out to someone. You will feel better for it, realise that you are not alone and don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. Although things may seem dark and bleak now, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I am proud that I have written this, it is something that I have kept inside for so long. I hope that you take something out of reading this. If you would like to talk about anything, I am here. Feel free to contact me and I will listen, anytime.

Keep the Faith,


Affected by what you’ve read? Want to share your own story? Get in touch by emailing