Five Things I learnt about death and dying when my sister died from breast cancer at 44 by Louise Head.

 
Louise’s sister - Gemma - at the premiere of a film she co-wrote, just a few weeks before she died.

Louise’s sister - Gemma - at the premiere of a film she co-wrote, just a few weeks before she died.

 

1. The loss of a young person changes a family irrevocably. There is a paradigm shift and it takes time to adjust to the new normal. 

2. Bereavement is inequitable. There is no such thing as a fair share when it comes to loss. Accept that it's just timing, sooner or later everyone will experience it.

3. It is a test of friendships. Notice the ones who never shied away, no matter how dark it got, who were brave enough to try and make you laugh when you didn't think you had a smile left in you - they are the real keepers.

4. Children are stronger than we give them credit for. Don't spend all your time trying to protect them or you'll run the risk of denying them their chance to say goodbye.

5. There is no greater privilege than to share the last weeks of the life of someone you love. Don't be distracted by anything else. It will all still be there at the end, you only get one go at this.

Louise Head

Louise Head’s sister Gemma died from breast cancer in October 2018 at the age of 44. She was a newly wed with a four year old son, as well as an actor and writer.
Louise is Associate Director of Research & Chief Medical Officer’s Services at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital NHS Trust.
@louisehead18