I'll never forget the night we lost my mum. Hours earlier we'd been called into one of those private rooms in ICU (side note: you NEVER want to be asked to step into one of those) and told by a distraught specialist that there was nothing more they could do.
Phwoa, it makes me well up just thinking about it again.
We were told it would be quick and painless but that it was time to say our goodbyes. Blessed with a large extended family (my mum was one of nine), we crowded into ICU and took our places as we knew she would've wanted. We sang, we laughed, we cried, we reminisced and we loved as much as our broken hearts would allow, before she silently snuck away to a Bette Middler classic playing in the background - she was always very dramatic.
The weeks and months that followed are all a bit of a blur but almost three years on, there are still a few memories that I will never forget:
Stepping outside for the first time and wondering how everyone could possibly go about their normal lives - had they not heard the news?!
Thinking it necessary to call the cleaner hours after the hospital to let her know we wouldn't require her services unless she had a secret concoction for removing death
Consoling a staff member at the funeral parlour who was so distraught we had come in to do mum's make-up on Mother's Day
Returning to work and bursting into tears before anyone could even offer me the sympathy eyes that I'd been so badly dreading
The disappointment and hurt I felt when people didn't acknowledge mum and what had happened in the weeks after her passing (I later learnt this was out of fear of upsetting me but come on people, the worst has already happened, how could you possibly make it worse?!)
The gut-wrenching feeling that life for me would never be the same again and that no one else would ever understand what I was going through
Since her passing I've learned a lot about myself and what I'm capable of, and I've grown in ways that I don't think would've been possible without the experience.
I've learnt the power of resilience, the value of opening up and the importance of taking responsibility for what you're going through.
I've learnt that it is possible to not only get through grief but to come out the side stronger and more personally powerful than before.
I've learnt that other women have had similar experiences and that there is great comfort in sharing with like-minded souls.
I've learnt that there is not a strong enough support network for those experiencing grief nor enough practical resources for high-achieving women who respond to real talk rather than false promises, rainbows and fairy farts.
My grief has inspired my coaching and allowed me the opportunity to work with women who have endured tragedy and trauma themselves and are committed to giving this suffering purpose.
They're changing their world by stepping up, saying yes and making the most of every single minute and I want to empower others to do the same.
If you've experienced something traumatic and you're looking for a safe space to connect with like-minded women I'd love to see you at my upcoming workshop, 'RESILIENCE IN GRIEF' as part of #TheResilienceSeries. Together with Life + Relationship Coach, Megan Luscombe, we'll share our own experiences with grief and discuss the nuances of love + loss and ways to move through this.