client story: how self-care is so important when grieving

by Katherine Mathers
March 11, 2024

My daughter, aged 20, died suddenly in May 2022 from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. We had never heard of this and it was a complete and devastating shock to us all.

the kindness of family and friends was priceless in the first weeks

It is very hard to remember the first month after she died as everything was a blur. The thing that still stands out for me though was the amazing kindness and generosity of all our neighbours and friends. The neighbours in our street instantly set up a rota and meals were delivered to our house each evening, people came to take the dog for walks. Such kindness was priceless at the time, we appreciated it so much.

I am lucky to have a very close family and my three sisters were so supportive. Not only did they all help with the immediate practicalities, which were so overwhelming at the time, they were there emotionally for me, checking in on us all regularly and being there to listen when needed. My nieces and nephews were constantly there for my other daughter too, regularly sending her messages and including her in their plans, so that she was not left isolated in her grief.

finding the space to talk and connect with your own emotions is a gift you can give yourself

Whilst friends and family are so important at these times, I found having somebody to talk to at space2grieve invaluable. At home you put on a brave face because you are all trying to support each other, but you need to express your emotions and think about yourself too. To find a space which I could call mine truly helped me navigate such a difficult personal time.

The other thing that helped me personally was Reiki healing. Hitherto, it was not something I knew much about, nor understood; an amazing lady who had lost her daughter to cancer aged 20 offered me three free sessions and it was wonderful. Again, this gave me some “me time” and helped me physically understand how to let go of built up stress.

be kind to yourself, seek out doses of comfort where possible

Since the death of my daughter, I would say that raising money for Young Epilepsy has given me purpose and I sincerely hope that we are helping other families who may be struggling with this condition. Through Young Epilepsy we have named a star after my daughter, which has also provided us with much solace.

It is still very hard to believe that my daughter is not here with us, that she will never come home. There are many times when my heart aches so much. However, I do find comfort now in visiting places where I feel close to her, in particular a tree in Richmond Park and a certain cliff in Cornwall. Both of these places were special to my daughter and an early morning walk there provides me with a small dose of comfort.

If I can give one piece of advice for anybody that is grieving, it would be to be kind to yourself. Self-care is so important. Finding the space to talk and connect with your own emotions is a gift you can give yourself.

if you’ve been bereaved, no matter when, no matter how, space2grieve can support you.
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