There is one really important thing that you need to know about grieving – there are no rules to how you should feel and act.
When we experience death, we can all handle it differently and depending on what you’re going through at the time, it can be a matter of ‘Shelving the Grief’ which is what I had to do when my mum passed away.
I was half way through filming, and I knew that mum wouldn’t want me to quit. She would take joy in me lasting as long as I could before being fired.
She didn’t think I would win – that was just her cheeky and realistic nature – but I know she would have been proud that I was right there until the end.
So what do you do when tragedy strikes but you have to function?
I was taught how to shelve the grief, simply take it from myself and deal with it when I can. I continued filming and the first day was hard. I was distracted thinking about her BUT the hardest part was working with Sophie Monk that episode, because she is hilarious and I felt bad laughing and enjoying myself because my mum had just died.
Why do we feel we need to act a certain way when someone dies? Of course we will be distraught and cry, but why can’t we feel the other emotions too and laugh? Enjoy a conversation and smile?
The key is, you need to FEEL ALL THE EMOTIONS. Death isn’t about crying for one day and getting all the tears out and moving on. Grief lasts a lifetime and it can hit you weeks, months and even years later, and at times come out of nowhere and hit you for six. Grief isn’t just sadness.
I’m reminded of this because this week I went to the funeral of my beautiful friend Megan Cafferty who lost her battle with cancer. She was 42 and leaves behind a husband and two children.
I met Megan six months ago when the radio station I work for 96.5 Wave FM and the Illawarra Community granted her final wish to become a wife, so we put together a spectacular wedding in seven days.
As soon as I met her I knew she was special. The funeral service was so beautiful but so sad, it was evident that life was incredibly cruel and this magical human was dying too young.
I cried. We all cried. But then we laughed and after the service we shared memories and we laughed some more and that is ok, because again, grief isn’t just sadness. It’s important that you go through all emotions and Megan couldn’t have said it any better herself through her favourite poem.
“Don’t feel guilty that you have life that was denied to me, Heaven is truly beautiful just you wait and see. So live your life, laugh again, enjoy yourself, be free. Then I know with every breath you take, You’ll be taking one for me.”
Grief can’t be controlled. Grief has no rules. Grief is with you for life. So go through all of the emotions that come with grief and keep moving forward the best you can. You’ll never forget those that have passed. I still miss my mum everyday and I know I’ll remember the memories I helped Megan create before she passed, for a long time and I’ll take solace in that.
Got a story tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org