It is not just the message of thanks and support I receive that motivate me. It is also the questions my readers ask when they have read the book. That is something I had not anticipated and yet every day I am asked something – sometimes humbling, occasionally surprising and always motivating. Here are just a few …
Q: It’s only having read your book that I realise I never properly grieved for my mum, who died 10 years ago? When you started writing did you anticipate this scenario – and do you have any advice for me now?
A: I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mum, it must be – as we all know who have lost loved ones – be a very challenging time for you. Did I have any set intentions for my book? Probably not. To start with I wrote purely to remember, to ease my own pain and to remember my daughter. Since publishing other people have also told me that reading the book has prompted feelings of grief – sometimes for loved ones who died many many years ago. In terms of advice, we are all different but hopefully the book has given you some pointers. Allow yourself to feel, to cry, to grieve and if people around you aren’t giving you the support they need them help them by explaining what you need. This could be a walk, a hug, a regular text or phone call – whatever feels right to you.
Q: My best friend’s brother has just died and I read your book to see if I could understand a little of what she is going through and to get a bit of guidance about how to be there for her. Do you think I should give her your book or give it some time?
A: That’s a good question and one that is difficult to answer. It is probably only you who can be the judge of when the timing may be right. You might consider discussing it with her first and asking her what she thinks? Be prepared for the fact that she may not know. I’m sure she will appreciate you caring about her and wanting to help.
Q: I learned so much from your book about the importance of grieving and allowing the emotions to flow. If you had to choose just one thing, what would you say is the most important thing to do when you have lost a loved one?
A: Expect anything as grief is rarely neat and tidy. Emotions may begin to flow, or they may be delayed due to shock. Emotions and feelings are the body’s way of moving the grief through the body, so meet them as calmly as you can. The emotions may well be stronger than any you have experienced before. Know that this is normal. Breathe slowly and deeply through them placing your hand over your heart. The area around the heart often hurts. Whilst this may sound scary, know that an aching heart is part of the breakthrough of a heart that is opening.
Q: Do you think writing the book was healing in any way? Did you cry a lot while you were writing and how did you manage?
A: Boy oh boy, did I cry; yes, I cried buckets and buckets; at first, I was unable to see the screen, and then each time I read it through it became a little easier. The process of writing to my daughter was cathartic and very healing; in fact, it was hard to eventually let the book go. How did I manage my grief you ask….by going with it, breathing, massaging my chest area; and writing enabled me to monitor the grief, so that I began to see that there were longer spaces between the downs, and that they were becoming shorter. That was when I began to see light at the end of a long, dark tunnel and know that I was on the right track.
Q: How has your family reacted to your book?
A: I’ve had very positive feedback from my brother. I thought it was courageous of him to read it and I think the book has brought us closer. I was quite grumpy for a while and I think it has helped him better understand this. I have no expectations about who reads the book and who doesn’t. The timing has to be right for each person. Not all family members feel up to reading about what happened to a young and very special member of their family.
Thank you for reading. To find out more about Patsy and the topic of bereavement read a recent article, published in the Stroud Newspaper HERE.