Sitting still and taking time out for just 10 minutes a day can help us to connect with ourselves and reduce stress. Eating healthy and exercising regularly also helps us to cope with a host of mental health issues from anxiety, panic disorder and depression. Thinking positive thoughts and setting goals and tasks help with motivation and learning something new helps exercise the mind. But what happens when your grief and bereavement stops you in your tracks and prevents you from being able to do the simplest of things. At times like these you have to dig really deep, you have to hold on as tight as you can to the belief that you will come back up for air and that there is always someone who will hold out a hand to you. It doesn’t have to be someone close to you it can be someone who you have just met, someone who understands because they too have or are experiencing the same emotions or a professional.
I have said many times before, that without the outpouring of love that I received when Josh was taken from me via txt messages, social media messages, telephone calls, letters and cards, I would not have coped the way that I did. These connections gave me strength and hope everyday. I would not have known what it felt like to have been comforted by so many kind hearted and generous individuals that didn’t even know me unless they had been brave and considerate when they reached out to me. They didn’t know me but they felt moved when they read my posts about my challenges and when they saw a photo of a beautiful young man who had lost his life in the most horrific of circumstances and in a totally unprovoked attack it felt too close to home. They saw that Josh had his whole life ahead of him, a happy and funny young man loved by so many and that what had happened to him could happen to anyone. So many people felt moved to also help us with our fight for justice, and all coming together to highlight the impact of knife crime and the need for change.
Josh’s murder struck a cord with thousands of people, from all walks of life and age groups from grandparents to children. They offered me help and support while also expressing their worst fears, that of losing a child, or their own life because knife crime is all too common. Four years and nine months on and I still receive messages which give me hope and help me to move forward with love in my heart. They give me hope that I will never be on my own in my grief and that there is always someone out there who will take the time to share a few words of comfort.
When a family member dies everyone in that family grieves at the same time so it is incredibly difficult to share your feelings without adding more pain to those that you love. I knew how much pain my family were in and I had to be strong for them especially for Brooke while I was the one responsible for making arrangements to visit Josh in the mortuary and the funeral parlour and then arranging his final farewell. I had to put my grief on hold then and for many years that followed while we fought for justice. Again the outpouring of support gave me the strength to fight and our justice was shared with every other person who had helped while also proving that standing together makes positive changes.
These past 9 months since the end of the trial in October and finally getting justice after four long years, and even if the sentence of 26 years was too lenient, my time to grieve should have started. And in spite of the warmth that I get from knowing that Josh, my family and I are still in the hearts of so many, I have struggled to grieve as it is a very scary place that no amount of help and support can ease the pain that is inside me. The past months have also been particularly hard in lockdown which I guess it is to be expected in these challenging times. Isolation while a comfort to me has opened up a whole new set of emotions. I have spent more time in Josh’s bedroom, breathing him in and going through his clothes, finding something new that I can wear to feel him next to me. I have started to look through photos that I have avoided and I have listened to his laugh on repeat something that is comforting but also so very painful.
But even more than this, I find myself at a crossroads not knowing in which direction to take as this time has also given me space to reflect on my life. I know that there is a huge amount of work to be done by all of us to help one another to get back to a ‘new normal’ but I still feel unsure of the road ahead. I find myself really looking at the space that I occupy in this world and worry because there is so much uncertainty about the future for all of us. So many people will have lost a loved one, they will have no job to go back to or they will have lost connections with people that they relied on to help manage their days and give them emotional support. This worries me as the emotional fallout is not one that you will see in the headlines on the news and social media etc that we are far to reliant on to tell us how we are.
There are also far too many injustices in the world injustices that can be so easily remedied if only we were to look inside ourselves more and not to social media, TV and radio influences. We can do so much more for our communities and ourselves if we align with likeminded people who want to see a positive social change. Instead of focusing on what we can not change and the negative press, we need to focus on what we can change. We need to talk more and reach out more, we need to learn more about the things that we know little about and we need to educate and share our knowledge with others too.
For all of the people that reached out and continue to reach out to me in great times of need, they taught me how important it is to do the same for others. I make a habit of connecting with people that I haven’t heard from or spoken to in a while because I know how strength and power can be passed on to someone else by another person even in a short message because it was so often passed on to me. By reaching out you can be the difference between someone having the worst day to the best day, from feeling hopeless to feeling hopeful from feeling depressed to feeling strong.
We can feel hopeful, happy and at peace even when we are struggling to see a way forward with the right support. And here in the now and in this moment is all that we have, not yesterday or tomorrow just right now, so we need to make it count. The journey that I am on and the road that I will take is uncertain right now but I will figure it out and today right now as I write my blog I know that someone, somewhere will reach out when they have read this and help make a difference to another persons life without even maybe realising it.
In memory of Josh and his zest for life I will make each day count and achieve one thing more than I did yesterday and I hope that you will too. Take care everyone and stay safe ??? #fouryearsninemonths #unity #hope #mysonJosh