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My Experience

 

Creating a website to help other young people going through bereavement is such an important idea to me as it’s something which I’ve had to deal with personally. When I was 15 years old, one of my oldest and closest friends, Eilidh, sadly lost her 14 month battle with germ cell cancer and died on the 25th of March 2010, only nine days before her 16th birthday.

 

I had been friends with Eilidh from around the age of four when I met her in nursery and she was a constant companion throughout my whole school life up until she passed away. When Eilidh was first diagnosed with cancer it came as a shock to me and her other friends, but we tried to remain positive as Eilidh was never one to lie down to anything.

 

Gennifer (left) and Eilidh (right)

 

I however, found it very hard to accept and this started to have an impact on my own personal life. I found it difficult to talk to my family about how I was feeling, and I’d started to drift away from the friend group that me and Eilidh were in at school. I wanted to stay strong for Eilidh so ended up bottling all my feelings up which resulted in me taking my grief out on myself.

 

Once we were told that things weren't looking good for Eilidh, I had to go to the hospital and say goodbye, a memory which will stay with me for the rest of my life. There were so many things that I wanted to say, but I just couldn’t get my words out.

 

After Eilidh passed away, I lost interest in school and started skipping classes, I also stopped talking to my old friends and started smoking as a way to cope.

 

I felt so alone and angry at the world for taking my friend away and I felt like this for a long time after Eilidh’s death. It’s been more than four years since Eilidh passed away now, but her death is something which still affects me strongly.

 

5 things I learned from this experience that I’d tell my younger self and others in the same situation:

 

  • Don’t bottle up your feelings. It can be a great relief to talk to someone about how you are feeling. 

  • Know that there isn’t a time limit on mourning. Bereavement can affect you for any length of time, some people only take a few months to grieve, where others may take years. 

  • Take time out for yourself. It’s not selfish to want to be by yourself sometimes to gather your thoughts.
     
  • Don’t compare yourself to others in the same situation! People experiencing bereavement learn to grieve/cope in different ways, it’s okay not to feel the same as someone else does.

 

  • It’s alright to move on with your life and be happy. Don’t feel guilty about moving on with your life and being happy. It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about your loved one who has passed away, it just means that you can finally accept what has happened. They would want you to continue your life.

 


 

“Each person’s grief journey is as unique as a fingerprint or a snowflake."

- Earl Grollman