Mum's Last Wish

The documentary, 'Mum's Last Wish' follows the inspiring story of Shanti and Kalvin, two young people who sadly lost their loving mum, Seema, to cancer in 2015. 

Despite the horrible situation that Seema had been placed in, she focused on being positive and making the best of what time she had left. She began recording vlogs of her journey, and gained a large following online. 

If I don't make it and I'm gone before my time, don't be sad 'cause I'm happy and I live whilst I'm alive -Seema

Seema decided to form a list of tasks she wanted Shanti and Kalvin to complete after she was gone. This gave them purpose after losing their mum, they wanted to complete them to make her proud. These tasks were a challenge, but it helped them keep the spirit of their beloved mum alive, and allowed them to focus on the future. Shanti took her first swimming lesson and learnt more about cancer, whilst Kalvin learnt to drive and applied for university. 

The documentary shows a different side of bereavement, it's not always about pain and suffering. Shanti was glad her mum was no longer suffering and in pain, and this gave her comfort in the loss. It's important to put yourself first, and it is okay to be sad and angry too. 

Kalvin hoped his mum would be proud of him and what he'd done. Shanti and Kalvin both know their mum is always with them in spirit, and they'll be okay.

It's time for a new adventure -Kalvin

You can watch the documentary here: Mum's Last Wish

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls tells the story of a young boy, Conor, whose devoted mother is terminally ill. He is struggling to come to terms with the inevitable loss, all the while dealing with an overbearing grandmother, an estranged father, and cruel playground bullies. 

If you haven't suffered a bereavement, sometimes you can be tricked into thinking people only have to deal with the loss itself. This film shows the reality of grief, and how you can be juggling everything in your life, especially when only a child. You can be forced to grow up too quickly, worry about things that are beyond your years, and take on the role as head of house. The story tells of, "a boy too old to be a kid, too young to be a man"

To be honest, this film was heart-wrenching to watch, and painful if you have ever suffered a bereavement yourself. It can drag up feelings you thought had been buried deep and you wouldn't have to face again. As upsetting as the film is, it's important to watch to understand the child's perspective in a bereavement. You need to put them first and listen to their needs. You can't assume what's best for them as they only know this themselves. In the film, the father tells Conor, "I'm sorry you have to face this, but you have to be brave". No thirteen year old boy should be told they have to be brave when they're losing the only parent who is there for them. Nobody should be told they have to suck it up and get on with it. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to scream, then scream. And if you need to break things, then break them. 

Everybody copes with bereavement in their own way, and you can't tell someone how to deal with it. The mother was the only person who understood how he felt, and she was the person he was losing. He didn't want her to go, but he wanted the pain and the suffering to be over, which is okay. You're not a bad person for wanting a bad situation to be over, it just means you're human. The mother told Conor, "It's okay that you're angry, I'm angry too", and it really is okay to be angry. 

Where does the monster come in? He visits Conor and tells him three tales, and at first Conor fails to see the point in any of it. It soon shows that the monster is here to help Conor through all the pain of losing his mum, and allows him to accept that she is gone. 

The film was beautifully made, and gut-wrenchingly effective. If more people watched this film, then young people would be a lot more understood when facing a bereavement.

"Of course you are afraid, but you will make it through."

New Year

We were all bombarded by the media telling us how bad 2016 was for various different reasons, celebrity deaths being one of them. With the beginning of 2017 comes the resolutions, a time for change, "New Year, New Me" etc, but this can be daunting when you're also facing another issue; The loss of a loved one.

For many people, the new year is an opportunity to start fresh and begin writing on their blank 365 page book. For many other people, it's a terrifying thought of the unknown, a brand new year to face alone without the person they've lost. The new year can be very painful if you've been bereaved, especially if it's recent. 

I lost my Dad just two weeks before New Year's Day, and it made the holiday a lot more bittersweet. Everybody I knew was partying, celebrating the chance for a new start, but for me it just seemed like a burden. Why should I be happy and look forward to a year without my Dad? It didn't seem worth celebrating to me. So I stayed inside and slept through it, blissfully unaware.

If you're facing the New Year without someone you love, then remember it's okay to not want to celebrate with friends or family. It's okay to put yourself first and do whatever you're comfortable with. Don't feel obliged to start changing yourself just because everybody else has a huge list of resolutions, you can take the year to rest and deal with your grieving process.

Take care of yourself, and take the year one day at a time. 

#MakeTime2Listen

Children’s Grief Awareness Week runs from November 17th to 23rd, and it’s important to know why this matters.

1 in 29 school age children have lost a parent or sibling, and that’s a pretty big number. When a child or young person loses somebody so close to them, they tend to grow up a lot faster than normal, and try to protect their remaining family. Children who have been bereaved tend not to share their problems or worries with family or friends, and this isn’t good. When you have been bereaved you can feel isolated, and carrying all your troubles alone can make this feeling even worse.

When I lost my Dad I didn’t talk about it for years, especially to my family. I didn’t realise at the time that this was making my grieving process longer and more difficult to cope with. I didn’t want to upset my Mum more, so I thought avoiding the subject and not talking about how I felt would help protect her. It was around 6 years after I lost my Dad before my Mum and I finally talked about it properly, and this seemed to lift the burden so much. You’re not protecting anyone by keeping your worries to yourself, you’re only hurting yourself, and letting everybody else think you’re coping when you could really need help.

It’s important to talk to an adult about your loss so you understand what has happened, and you’re not being left in the dark as this can make it even harder to cope with.

It’s important to listen to young people as this can help them grieve and feel less alone, and it also lets them know it’s completely okay to not be okay.

Summer Holiday

One of the greatest things about being off school is that family summer holiday away to somewhere sunny and exotic. However, when you've lost a loved one that trip can be a totally different experience.

Your first holiday after a bereavement can be very bittersweet. You can feel guilty for being excited, or you can just be altogether dreading it. Either way, making new traditions and enjoying the trip can make it a happier experience, but you can still remember the happy memories of your past holidays with your loved one.

When my Mum and I went on our first trip after the loss of my Dad, it was very difficult for the both of us. Everything from checking the house was safe to organising transport; it was all on my Mum. She coped so well, despite how hard it was for her. We tried new things and went somewhere different, so we could keep our old memories but make our own new ones too.

Whether you've been on a holiday this summer, or are planning to go on one soon, what do you think can make a holiday easier after losing a loved one?