Mum was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010 but it was in a controllable state. She was on a tablet a day which was worked well but a year later on a routine check up they found the disease had jumped to the final stage. Mum was admitted straight to hospital for chemotherapy, she stayed in hospital for 64 days but sadly died at home two weeks after being discharged.
I visited Mum daily for those 64 days, it was precious time. I hated not being able to fix her but I was there, by her side, every day.
In terms of grief I think it began before Mum had even gone. I would be so strong at the hospital during my visits but completely break down each time I walked away. When Mum passed away we were with her, I was angry I couldn't beat death, couldn't push it away, couldn't delay it anymore and I was angry I couldn't help her, she had gone.
There's no lessons in life that can prepare you for death. No right answers how to cope with losing your Mum or a loved one. For months and months I wondered how I'd ever enjoy life again, how I'd ever smile properly again, and more importantly if I would ever really want to smile again.
I'll be very honest, there was a time when I thought I wanted out, don't get me wrong I never did or never would do anything stupid but I had that thought because if you're gone your pain is gone too and you no longer have to think. When I was growing up my worst ever fear was losing my Mum, sadly that worst fear became real, it's a cliche but you just never think it's going to happen to you.
Following Mum's death and the subsequent death of my Nan seven months later I went to see my doctor because I wasn't 100%. I wondered if I had depression, it scared me but I knew I had to do something, I just couldn't move on. My GP suggested counselling, this was a first for me. I think people regarded me as a strong person and I guess I thought I was too, I just needed some reassurance and to be able to breathe properly again.
I kept up with my regular sessions, and it was good, really good, I found some inner strength, I focused on getting my 'drive' back and more importantly I learnt how to breathe properly again.
I think it's really healthy to talk, I didn't want to speak to my family and friends because I thought 'who wants to listen to me?' So the sessions really were invaluable. It's a cliche but time really is a healer. You don't get over it you just learn to adapt, You learn to live life a bit differently. I often think back to the person I was before Mum died but I can never remember the person I was. You change, I can't explain how you change, you just change.
My two brothers and I wanted to give something back and do something good out of something bad so every year on the anniversary of Mums death we raise money for We Hear You by challenging ourselves, from running, to cycling to pulling a coach, we'll keep going each year in Mums memory.