Mum had to be the bravest and truly was. My dad also brought a whole new brave that I had never seen in him. He hadn’t been there when we were born for fear of fainting so to see him nurse my mother and be such a rock right up until that tender moment when she died and he took the ring off her finger graduated him in my eyes to Super Hero status.
Like every love, every loss is different and like every fear, every brave is different and we all have to be brave sometimes – whether we like it or not.
The definition of brave is ‘Being ready to face and endure danger or pain, showing courage’. I respect that my experience pales in comparison to others losses and that some may even disagree with the fact that one is ‘brave’ during such times because you have no choice but to just cope so when are you ever ‘ready’ to endure danger or pain? I guess that my experience just made me question feeling brave, having courage and how I can prepare myself and my children to be ready to face whatever life throws at us with love and grace.
My kids, who are six and four, obviously had lots of questions about death. We had travelled from the UK to NZ to be with mum for her final six months and lived with my sister who had lost her husband to a brain tumour nine years ago. During our stay, a young boy in my daughter’s class also sadly died, so death became a very real concept for them. How could I best answer their questions? This was perplexing to me but I eventually found my answer…
A very wise friend said that I needed to get my own story clear on death and dying and that when that story was authentic to my heart, I would feel ready to answer their questions. So I spent time on this with myself and it was really refreshing for me to focus on what story I choose to believe and live by and the perspective that this has now brought to my life. I want to be open and honest with my kids and to myself about death. I want us to observe the death and transformation that we see every day to prepare us for the inevitable change that life brings and to be at peace with the process of life.
Not many people seem comfortable talking about death and it’s hard to find good stories for kids about it so I am challenging myself to write one that is hopefully authentic, delightful and makes some sort of sense to the soul.
Loosing mum was a wonderful rite of passage for me.
It has made me braver in following my heart and pursing my own dream launching ‘Feel Brave’ www.feelbrave.com.
I wanted to create characters and stories that help kids manage tough emotions and feel brave because we all have to be a little brave sometimes. I wanted to create new opportunities for adults to really connect with kids because there is a special kind of magic when that happens. I wanted to get kids excited about the potential for happiness and their responsibility to find it themselves because the only thing we truly have control over is the lens that we chose to view our world through.
My mother’s final lesson came silently to me as I sat looking at her with unlimited gratitude for what she had given me and that was that when there is love in your heart, you’re as brave as can be.
This article was originally published on the Motherless Daughters, xo blog and has been republished with full permission. The blog was created by Cheryl Strong after she lost her beautiful mother, Lorraine Murphy. These are her words:
“My dream is to one day start a charity for motherless daughters. I am a motherless daughter and when I lost my mother it felt like my heart broke in two. Although I struggled with my mother’s death (and still do on many occasions) I see myself as one of the fortunate ones because I had so much love and support to help me through my sadness and grief. I know that other motherless daughters are not so “lucky” so I would love to help them. Setting up this blog is the first step towards my dream. And I guess it’s my way of paying it forward. The aim of the blog is to provide women and girls with an opportunity to connect with other women who have lost their mothers – to share experiences, offer support and hopefully form new friendships. It’s a HAPPY blog, full of inspiration, celebration, love, quotes and beautiful memories. My aim is to connect motherless daughters, young and old, all all around the world.”