My mother died when I was 14 years old and since then I have carried that grief with me for 10 years; sometimes it weighs heavy upon my shoulders, sometimes it holds my hand when I most need comfort.
I have found experiencing grief first-hand to be very different to watching someone else grieve; there are new unexpected mountains to climb and invisible battles to fight. If the struggles of grief aren’t clearly communicated to those around you, it can be hard for people to understand, while the delicate ‘taboo’ nature of grief can make those discussions feel already inaccessible. Personally, it was only when piecing together this poem did I realise how many aspects of my life had been coloured by grief, and yet internalised. Aged 14, I didn’t know how to communicate my grief, meaning those around me struggled to support me. This poem represents the raw honesty I wish I’d felt comfortable enough to vocalise, years ago, if only I had been sincerely asked. I hope my work not only encourages others to open up about their grief and be vulnerable, but also moves those around them to handle that vulnerability with listening ears and gentle hands.