As the start of this month was so traumatic for me personally I thought it right to end the month reflecting. I can say that May 2022 is a month that I will carry with me forever. It is the moment my life changed.
After many years of talking to people about how to deal with crises I was suddenly dealing with the worst personal crisis I could imagine. In fact I could have never imagined what I am currently living through. I have been given a small window into the horrendous world that those affected by disasters enter.
It has strengthened my belief that crises and the communication around them must focus on those who are affected and what they need, want and how they are feeling. My loss was not in a disaster and has had an overwhelming impact so how much worse is it for those who lose loved ones in crises? Just think about that.
I think about that every time I sit in bed crying. I think about that when I fear what my future may hold. I think about that when the wave of loss threatens to drown me.
As with all terrible situations, there is always something positive that emerges. A few weeks ago I was having a bad time and I remember a conversation with my Mum. I am not sure how it started or what prompted the words that I can hear as clearly now as when I said them to her ‘I don’t have any friends’. In the busiest moments of our lives we can feel alone. At the time I probably believed what I said. The past four weeks since my Mum died have proved how wrong I was.
The constant messages of support, beautiful flowers, cards and gifts have all really touched me. From feeling very alone I suddenly felt the support of my friends from within the communication world, from the horse world, and from many other places. Then yesterday my good friend who I haven’t been able to see since before lockdown 2020 arrived unannounced at Mum’s funeral. Such kindness is worthy of sharing.
Making yesterday the send off that we wanted for such an amazing woman was about all the little things. The birds we asked to be put within the flowers, the words that we wanted to mention, the specification that the final song had to run right to the end, and so many small touches. All those things had such a huge impact on how we felt and coped with such a sad day. In my work I say this a lot you have to do the big things and have them ready so that during a crisis you can ‘sweat the small stuff’. I now know from personal experience why that is so important.
From the kind messages from those who have been through the traumatic experience of losing a parent I know that only time will help with the pain I currently feel. And as many have said to me it is about taking one step at a time.