Bent But Not Broken: Compensating For A Loss

When I was told that my mum passed away, my head felt like it was going through a rollercoaster of emotions. My heart sank that day and a part of me felt that life, as I knew it, was truly over. “I will never smile or be happy again” I mournfully said to myself a couple hours after the news had hit me. The thought and realising that I may end up in a perpetual state of mourning for the rest of my life scared me. In hindsight this was simply the bereavement talking and truly getting the best of me. I began to envisage a myriad of happy moments that can take place in my life that will surely help me get over this loss: marriage, nice house, new car, etc. Once I experience all of this I will be happy again and my sanity will be restored. Yet again hindsight has turned out to be a beautiful thing as this feeling was nothing other than a false belief. Associating true happiness with an idea or an object to compensate for bereavement is simply a recipe for disaster. The truth is, as I’ve come to realise, nothing or anybody can change what I’m going through. A part of me will always be empty and, as weird as it sounds, it’s oaky knowing that this emptiness can never be filled.

 

Two days ago made it three months since the Duchess – which is a nickname my mum gave herself – passed away. Feelings of sadness resurfaced, as expected, and emotions ran high as I began to reflect on her life, and admire the courage she had to live it to the fullest. ‘Days like this are normal and are part of the grieving process’  I said to myself, ‘Everyday can’t be a happy day and a loss of a loved one is not something that can be compensated for’ I continuously said in my head time after time.

Three months on, I’m mentally stronger,smarter and wiser, hindsight is a beautiful thing. If I hadn’t allowed myself to process things and naturally grieve then I wouldn’t have peace of mind or even be able to remain sane. I’ve come to realise that when you are dealing with a loss of a loved one the best thing to do is allow yourself to mourn in whatever way you see fit. That is exactly what I – and still doing to this very day – did, I’ve learnt to take one day at a time and let feelings flow naturally. One day I may be really down and just want cocoon myself from the world and another day I feel motivated and inspired to take on the world and make my mum proud. This is how life goes when you’ve loved and lost someone dear to you, it’s a feeling that you can’t stop or control (to an extent). I can’t bring my mum back to this world – as much as I would like to – but it’s life and I have to deal with it. She is gone but her wisdom and attitude towards life lives on and most of all it lives through me.

‘I will never smile or be happy again’ an emotional me, that felt that there was nothing else to look forward to in life, once said. In retrospect I couldn’t disagree more, as I have plenty to look forward to. Writing this article has been a self realisation that I am able to coureagously move on. Three months ago I wouldn’t have been able to string a sentence together about my ordeal, but today I can compose a whole article let alone a sentence. To me this progress and progress is always a good thing to smile about.

The time will come when I celebrate many more milestones (marriage, children, first home,dream job/car) and I believe that I will be able to celebrate them – in whichever order they come – because I have learnt to be happy in this present moment. There is no such thing as compensating for a loss of a loved one. As I have stressed constantly, you simply can’t replace or fully get over that loss. So rather than thinking I am going to be better and feel more happy again when  I finally get, that new car, engaged or decide to start a family, I have realised that these things will not change what has happened. Instead I have learnt to be happy where I’m – in life – at now and come to understand that I’m in charge of my own happiness. Nothing will change my experience and I’ve accepted that attaching happiness to objects or a destination will also not change my experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Materialism The Route To Happiness?

“Money can’t buy you happiness” … “Well I would drown my sorrows in a Range RoverHaven’t we heard all that before? I’m not going to just spend the next 20-30 mins telling you that Money isn’t everything and how we as individuals shouldn’t admire nice things. If I did then I would be completely talking nonsense. I personally like nice things, there is something great about walking into the shop and trying on that really nice jacket that looks fantastic on you, even if its £100. Yeah that’s right! I do like to spend money on nice things even if they are a bit pricey, I don’t see a problem with that because I like what I am buying and know that I won’t return it anytime soon.

Okay I could waffle on about what I like to buy and all that jazz, but I will choose another day to bore you (ha ha  … I’m joking). As stated earlier: “Money can’t buy you Happiness”, which is true to an extent, but it depends on what you class as ‘Happiness’, so some might believe that it does. Others might think that such a statement is total rubbish. So you see it’s all about our individual perception. There are days I picture myself driving around London in a Lamborghini or going on a big shopping spree down Knightsbridge. For now such are wishful thoughts, but I do hope to someday. I don’t think it’s wrong for people to want nice things, the only problem that I have is when we start to allow these things to consume us, to the extent we value them more than others. I will be adopting the same train of thought similar to my last post (Diamonds and Gold), as there are some similar points that need to be addressed.

When I was younger (like 16 or 17 or so) I used to always get excited when it came to Birthdays and Christmas, all I was concerned about was what present I was going to get. Admittedly when I was younger I was quite spoilt and used to sulk a lot when I didn’t get what I wanted –life of typical brat ay!. There was one birthday in particular when I actually started to think different: On my 15th birthday I remember waking up that morning in high spirits, as anyone would be on their birthday. I was excited because I had got a Nintendo Gamecube, which at the time was newest console. Later on in the day a few friends came over and we were all taking turns to play, but I wasn’t happy even though I got what I wanted. My mum had travelled that day too, so I kind of felt upset after a while because I  felt that I didn’t really get to celebrate with her properly. At that time I didn’t fully understand why I was getting so upset, it’s not like she was travelling for months it was just a week holiday!

It was only until I got older I started to fully comprehend the reason for this sadness. Presents are nice and all but nothing beats time spent with loved ones and those you value highly. These days I’m more content with spending time with my pals and just having a good time. I feel that it’s a waste of time constantly being fixated on materialistic goods.  It’s perfectly okay to want a new pair of shoes or a nice bag from Zara. But why must these things consume us? It’s not quite easy to fathom, some of us just like good things. When you’re younger I guess it’s okay to love materialistic things, because you probably don’t know any better. But as you get older you really start to understand what’s important.

There was a point when I was completely obsessed with footwear. I would always want the latest trainers without fail- I had a sense of pride when I wore the newest pair of trainers in the shops. My friends always used to hail me for having such a neat footwear collection. I felt like the man! Now I hardly buy trainers, I’m not really fussed anymore, there are far more pressing matters on my mind.

How do you live your life? Do your materialistic possessions consume you? More importantly what’s your perspective on life? I want to travel around the world and learn about different cultures. I yearn one day to start a family of my own. The way I see life now is much more different, mental stimulation and growth are way more important to me than materialistic possessions.

Treat yourself to that bag you saw the other day in the shops, those pair of loafers you spotted when you were out and about in Oxford Circus. And once in a while buy something for your missus, brother, wife, husband and so on, they will appreciate the spontaneity.  Life will feel good when we buy things to create meaning and love, rather than constantly trying to ‘Keep up with the Joneses’.