Jenny Anderson,a recent graduate of the London College of Fashion, relfects on how losing a loved one changes you forever.
There are no words to describe the profound effect that losing someone you love has; it makes you question everything and pushes you to limits that you didn’t know you had. Here is what I’ve learnt over the past 1 year, 3 months and 8 days since losing my dad:
1. Being alive is ace
If you’re reading this then you are ALIVE! Alive and kicking with the whole brilliant world at your feet. I probably sound a little over enthusiastic, but I am high on the drug that is life; and I say this as someone who is currently unemployed and living with my mum. We all know that we’re going to die, it’s no secret, but I don’t believe that we all REALLY know.
Previous to my dad I had never lost someone that was close to me, or watched anyone fight a serious, life threatening illness and had convinced myself that I, along with all of my friends and family, was essentially immortal. We’re all so busy; busy worrying about the state of the economy, busy trying to work out who the hell voted for Frankie Cocozza on The X Factor, and busy trying to piece together how exactly we got home on Saturday night. At a time when we all want more than the world can give we get caught up in the machine of monotony, our daily routines. We get distracted and we forget to make the most of our lives and all of the opportunities that bestow us. We can do ANYTHING that we want, BE anything that we want; we are the human race for Christ’s sake. Yep, being alive is ace.
"Grief has been the most important teacher of my life to date"
2. Your friends are amazing
That’s right, your friends are the greatest beings to walk this earth. They are the ones that will give you a shoulder to cry and snot all over at 2am because you’re tired, vulnerable and probably necking vodka sooner than you should be. They are the ones who will reassure you that you have nothing to feel guilty about and that you aren’t losing your mind because you’re having the most bizarre dreams and still struggling to accept what’s happened 6 months on; they will kindly explain that it’s perfectly normal and that it will get easier. They may even tell you some really nice things about yourself, which will make you feel a lot better. Finally they will never judge you on how you deal with your loss; shut yourself away, go out too much, don’t cry, cry too much. They don’t care; they just want you to be OK. Appreciate them.
3. Losing someone will change you
I am a very fickle person. Yet I would give any of my material possessions to spend even just one more minute with my dad; hell, I’d probably give a non-essential organ and not expect any payment for it. I feel his loss every day. I am essentially still the same person but with a few added extras.
I am a lot more empathetic toward others in real life as well as on the television; the Tanya cancer storyline in EastEnders is slowly breaking me and don’t even get me started on The Secret Millionaire or the finale of Spooks. On the flipside I am far more motivated and driven; at the risk of sounding a bit Eminem, I now get that you really only get one shot. I want to be successful, I want to be THE BEST; I am the Mohammed Ali of Berkshire. I want to know that if my dad could see me he would feel proud and want to shout, “THAT’S MY DAUGHTER! SHE’S BRILLIANT!” Rather than just, “Newcastle are 3rd in the Premierships? Ha’way the lads!”
So there you have it, what I’ve learnt from grief, the most important teacher of my life to date.
Picture credit: Rex Features.
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