The Language Of Loss: Giving Grief A Voice (Part 2)

The Language Of Loss: Giving Grief A Voice (Part 2)

Being an orphan is something we associate with young children, yet that’s exactly how Helen felt when she lost both her parents within three months of each other. A Canadian native with an easy smile, I met Helen a few years ago through professional circles and she’s a woman I continue to admire through her community work. She’s unapologetic for her honesty and has learned to walk in her truth, but not before acknowledging the shadow parts of herself. Her emotional layers are complex, and I feel the school of hard knocks has only strengthened her resolve and resilience.

Like Helen, her son is an only child. She says that her son has her nose, hands and feet - all the features that people say she has taken from her own parents. He also has a similar sense of humour. As much as it brings her joy to see herself in him, there’s also a tinge of melancholy because he never had the chance to meet his grandparents.

The Language Of Loss: Giving Grief
A Voice (Part 1)

The Language Of Loss: Giving Grief <br>A Voice (Part 1)

How differently do we feel about and celebrate the ‘firsts’ in our lives? A baby’s first steps, or their last day of high school? What about our own milestones? When someone we love, more importantly a parent, is sick or passes away, how does it change the way we see those ‘firsts’? The first day, our first birthday, even instinctively picking up the phone to share with them your good news only to realise they wouldn't be picking up on the other end.

Does it change our relationships and how we see the world? I reached out to a few friends who have experienced the loss of one or two parents with intention of giving us a greater understanding of how we can make the most of our relationships in the living years. Even though our loved ones have passed away, could we use that loss to positively impact ourselves and those we love?

How writing a stranger’s memoirs taught me to live fully and love unapologetically

How writing a stranger’s memoirs taught me to live fully and love unapologetically

“Have you made peace with it, you know, with the fact that you’re dying?”

It's not the easiest question to ask someone you barely know, then again, I was here to write her memoirs. If she wasn't dying I wouldn't be sitting in her room at the rest home, where the walls had the personality of a non-existent Summer, which perfectly complimented the passive mood lighting overhead.

She is a friend’s Mum, someone I knew of only by name until three weeks ago. How do you earn the trust of a stranger to allow you insight into their life, maybe into memories their loved ones didn't even know about? The answer is to have compassion without pity, to listen with curiosity and to write with the intention of giving them a genuine voice.

They say that no parent should have to bury their child, yet as an adult and seeing your parent in pain is just as hard. Nothing prepares you, and you have to find your own way through it. My friend knows this too well.