Twelve months ago, we said goodbye to our son Matthew, and our worlds changed forever. This blog is not about how difficult this last year has been because that would be impossible to put into words. Instead, I am going to share how this painful experience has taught me that love always shines through.

I have survived the first Christmas without Matthew. Also, the first New Year, the first Easter, the first Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays and holidays. Although I know it is still early days, I am able to sense the transformation twelve months on.

It has been a long and heart-breaking journey but I am learning to laugh again, have fun, and enjoy my life, because I if I don’t, I will be letting Matthew down. I keep reminding myself how Matthew coped with everything that was thrown at him and how he used to say, “Mum, if I can get through this, then so can you”.

I still miss him dreadfully every day and I still have overwhelming moments of sadness, but I know he will always be in my heart and never far from my thoughts. I am at peace with my emotions and I send them love.

It is becoming the norm to feel waves of grief over the dinner table or while doing the ironing or watching the TV. Both Bill and I are used to having these little everyday moments and we don’t make a big deal of it. Grief is becoming weirdly soothing in its familiarity and I feel quite comfortable with this new cosy sensation. This is my new comfort zone and I am feeling at peace with it.

I know the experience has changed us but change is OK. I am still finding my feet and that is OK too. I will never be the same person I was before Matthew passed away and I have accepted that.

I recognise that I am not only grieving the loss of Matthew, I am also grieving the loss of the person I was before, and I am learning to love and accept the person I am now. I am also grieving for the life I had before and I am learning to accept that life is different now and different is OK.

I have grown and transformed into a different version of me and I have developed fears and anxieties along the way. I feel like I am an updated version of computer software, but as with any new system, I come with gremlins. Perhaps I’m still not even sure who this new person is yet. I have new insecurities with this update and it will take time to feel totally comfortable with who I am. I have an inner knowing that I am going in the right direction and that life is now unfolding in a different way for me. It’s my new normal, my new reality. Do I like it? If I say “yes”, then it sounds like life is better now without my son and if I say “no” it sounds like I am resisting it, and what we resist persists, so I have accepted it.

We all have our own scars from the various emotional experiences and no one comes out of grief unscathed. Rather than seeing them as scars, I understand that they have moulded me into the person I am today.

Grief and loss has the potential to take us to another level, and I understand that deep wisdom comes from painful experiences. My grief is continuing, and I am going through the process my way, which is the right way for me and these dark times have certainly transformed me.

For me, grief is about missing the physical presence of my son, the sound of his voice, his smile, his humour, his laughter, his hugs, his smell, his personality, him; Matthew.

My grief is for the life I had and for the person I was before my son became ill and before he died. I am readjusting and settling into my new reality, and it takes time to make peace with this new way of being. I am learning to love and accept the person I am now.

IT IS, what IT IS, and I can’t change what happened, but I can change how I hold it inside.

I believe this life is a school for our souls, and our experiences are the lessons. Our souls have no gender, no colour, no age, or belief system. Our souls cannot join a minority group, and they don’t want to fight for a particular cause. Souls are Pure Love. I believe we came here for the ride and to be the best we can be, while experiencing this thing called ‘Life’. If we can still shine our light, to be the best that we can be in every situation or painful journey, we will remember who we truly are – pure unconditional love.

Yesterday has gone and tomorrow has yet to arrive and all that is real is this present moment, and of course love.

All that is real is this present moment and love.

This my favourite verse to remind me that Matthew is not gone, and that there is absolute unbroken continuity; that love always shines through.

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. 
One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, 
infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, 
infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

Henry Scott Holland

Fly high with the Angels Matthew and thank you for bringing so much into my life.