It’s been 20 years since my mum’s death.
Albeit a chapter I have mentally locked away due to how young I was at the time and also my inability to fully comprehend the effects of her absence as the years would go by.
And yet last Sunday, it unfolded unexpectedly as part of a shared experience I had with strangers who are also enveloped in their version of grief.
A memorial service was held at my church for a now late member who was recently shot to death. As part of the day’s proceedings, we had a handful of people also speak about their experiences.
One was Mark Prince OBE whose son was stabbed to death 13 years ago and had since started a charity fighting knife crime and youth violence.
Another was a young woman whose dad was also stabbed to death around the same time. She opened up about the devastating impact it had on her family especially her younger sisters who adopted varying ways to cope- one lashed out in anger and the other became withdrawn.
Compelled to speak with them after, I suddenly found the urge to open up about my experiences.
For a moment, in that space, despite our differences in ages and genders, we were all connected by grief. Our protective walls came down. Our pain found fluidity. It found a voice.
We have been conditioned to walk around with a lid on our pain until someone gives us the permission to open up through their own vulnerability.
We will all have to travel the path of grief at some point in our lives and although we may initially go through it alone, there is a thread that connects us to those who have also suffered or are suffering.