Gratitude or heartbreak, we all have our own answers to this question. Today is march 14, 2021. Mothers day on this side of the world. This photo is of my mother. My mother died at age 33. She died doing what she loved the most, riding her horse. A tragic end to a young life, she died on a day that she was most exited about, competing in one of the largest horse riding competitions Ireland has to offer, the Royal Dublin Society, Dublin Horse Show.

As a grief therapist. This year I have sat with friends and clients who have lost parents in this time of Covid. I have also sat with those who have lost parents many years before but still grieve. Grief is not linear. It does not have a timeline. Grief is a process, a journey, an experience that each and every individual experiences in their own unique way. The loss of a mother is complicated. And must be given the space and compassion it needs. I was only eleven when my mother died, I saw the accident and I was there when the doctor said they tried all they could do, but she didn’t make it. My own son is the age I was. I look at him and wonder how I coped. What it might be like if he lost me.

As a grief therapist I have sat with mothers who have lost babies, I have heard their pain, I have been witness to their sorrow, when we witness another’s pain, we are present. The grief of the loss must be given space, this space cannot be filled with words but instead quiet compassion. My experience of a baby loss some years ago allows me to contemplate. I grieved, I cried, I was angry, and I did ask “why me?” I now ask in the words of Dr Edith Eger: “Why not me?”.

Grief does not choose who lives and who dies, death happens, it will happen to everyone at some point in their lives. There is no love without loss, there is no life without death. I experienced a childhood where I lost my mother, and an adulthood where I lost a baby. We don’t compare our experiences to others, grief is not measurable. Your grief is relevant, and how you choose to live from this point on in your own life is up to you. Your grief matters, your journey matters, and your memories matter!

I chose after losing my baby, that I would live. I chose joy, hope and adventure. I am ever changed from my losses. I allow my experiences to be part of who I am. I embrace all that I am, and all that I have become. You matter. So does your story. Let your grief in, let it be seen, speak their name, embrace the memories, share them with those who make you feel safe. Live your life embracing the newness, this does not mean you are forgetting the past. Live your life on your own terms. Let your own experience of loss be part of who you now are. All the beautiful imperfections of being a human who has lost.