My sisters

Hattie and sisters

In a strange way, mum’s illness and her death was the simple part – because, quite frankly, she was still here and was guiding us through it. It’s what we were used to, and it’s what we all desperately needed. The difficulty came once she had gone… now, what? Am I meant to carry on with my life without her here? How is that even possible?

And, in more trivial moments, – “wait, how do I hand wash my cardigan?”, “what’s the recipe for scones mum always used?”, “what was the name of my first maths teacher?”

I have two sisters – Sophie is the oldest, and Emily is the middle child. I am the baby, if you couldn’t already tell by my cardigan conundrum. We all dealt with things very differently – I am all action upfront, but quickly become overwhelmed. Sophie is a nurse and is incredibly practical, and much more consistent in taking action. Emily takes a step away to process things, but then returns with gusto, and often snacks.

Grief feels like it should be one size fits all, but it’s not. It’s a multi-layered thing which is completely different depending whose perspective spectacles (per-spectacles?) you have on.

In those hours, days and weeks after mum died, it felt like a suspended reality. We were all there together but trying to navigate life without mum, the anchor in our sisterhood – it was really quite bamboozling.

We went to get coffee together which had become part of our routine. We would wander around the shops and aimlessly buy clothes or some new wonder make-up product we had seen online while scrolling on Instagram in the wee hours. Sophie would try and feed me, Emily would berate and bemoan my poor water intake. I would try and make everyone laugh and would try and convince my sisters to watch the US Office with me.

We were all trying SO HARD. But, the world had shifted and we would all need to find our new place. We would get there, it was just going to take time.

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