Two weeks ago we received the devastating news that my uncle, my dads brother died. They live in far North Queensland. We are in lockdown in Melbourne.The loss for me is not just about the tragedy that my uncle is no longer here. It is around the loss to his wife, kids and grandkids. It is also about our own loss of my dad, his brother a few years ago. These two were so so similar seeing images of my uncle always had me looking twice at the images thinking it was my dad. It is the loss of this earth-side connection to my own dad. The loss of a part of our Kelly family history with these brothers now both gone.
And don’t even get me started on how lockdown is impacting my grief. We can’t just fly up there & be with them like they were for us. I can’t even be with my own mother and brother in regional Vic. I can’t even have a friend over for a cuppa and a chat (we are all currently sick but know it can be an option under caregiving when well). When Xav was one year and two weeks old my own dad died. I was also 15 weeks pregnant. We were going through an intense time parenting a very sleepless toddler who was cutting a million teeth and up most of the night. I didn’t have time to fully grieve.The death of my dad and now my uncle has me reflecting on how hard it is to properly and fully grieve once we are mums.
When we are mothers and there is death, we still have to continue to mother. We can’t (well for most of us) jump into bed for a day or a week and grieve, cry, sip tea and eat biscuits. We still need to care for the kids, cook, tidy, get kids to bed while trying to do all the practical tasks that come after a death. Such as things like phone calls, messages, arranging funerals, writing eulogies or caring for other grieving family members. We don’t feel we can be crying as much as our mind and body want us too. We can’t physically rest or sit with our other grieving family members as we have to be up and physically caring for our kids.
As mothers who are grieving it is hard or near impossible to find the mental space, the mental quiet to fully process and reflect our loss. And yes of course maybe we have access to supportive partners or others who can help with some of the practical tasks to help give us some space. But we can’t just fully not mother for a few days or however long we need. So mamas grieve through the mess, literally and figuratively. Sometimes we have to hold off fully processing or expressing our grief until we can find a moments peace and quite. For the other mamas who are grieving a death right now, I see you, I hold space for you and send you love.
If you get the chance I hope you can maybe:
get extra support to help with the kids, house and food.
take time out on your bed or in the shower to cry, feel, journal, listen to music, look at images of your loved one.
get outside for some grounding with the earth, go for a walk or drive.
make your own opportunities for marking the loss like: light candles, get flowers, write a letter, read poems.
reach out to friends to let them know how you are feeling, tell them what you need, allow them to hold space for you to grieve safely.
Big shout out and thanks to the few friends who have connected with me during this time and have shown me so much love. I am always grateful for your love
pic 1. Flowers and card among my messy bench from my local friend left on my door late one night