1. I wish we’d talked about it. We couldn’t of course, we were all in denial (deep denial). But I wish that I’d said to my Mum “I’m scared” and I wish that she said “I’m scared too”.
2. I wish someone had told me that it’s OK to grieve, in all its messiness, in its darkness. That it’s OK to go there, it’s OK to stay there for a while too. It’s OK to grieve, to cry, to scream. Every single messy part of it is OK.
3. I wish I’d known that I didn’t have to go on antidepressants to grieve. That grief can feel so dark that there are days that you don’t know how you’re going to survive, you don’t know how to function and you definitely can’t see clearly. But I didn’t need antidepressants - I needed to feel every single part of it.
4. I wish I’d fought harder to get my Mum into proper care. Me and my sister cared for her at her home, taking it in turns, we weren’t qualified or emotionally equipped to do this. I wish I’d fought harder to get her the professional care she needed, and just as importantly, that we needed too.
5. I wish I really understood that grief stays with you, I’ve been in denial about that for a very long time! That it lives and breathes within you. It can come in from nowhere, even 12 years later, if you let it. And you must let it. Grief can feel like it will break you, you can feel broken but letting it live and breathe, letting it be part of you means you can live with it, you can become friends with it, rather than pushing it away and denying the energy that it needs. It’s not easy, but I’m learning to do just this.