Cancer Grief Health

The Blind Panic of Grief

“yes, my Mum died in January. It was very quick, very sudden”

“I know, better that it wasn’t all drawn out”

“well, we’re ok. We cope. one day at a time. One foot in front of the other. It’s all you can do really.”

“Bear’s doing ok mostly. He gets very sad but thankfully he talks. He’s just started bereavement counselling and I think that’s going to be really helpful”

“yes, we’re so lucky that it’s available.”

“Dad’s ok. It has to be horrific. He’s very sad obviously. My sister copes but she worries about me, I worry about her.”

“honestly, I’m ok. I miss Mum so much but I just have to keep going. Ok, yes, bye”



That’s easy. The conversations above. I can say that my Mum has died. She was one of the few, most important people in my life. She was my everything. She was so integral to my life.


My Mum has died.


She’s dead.


My Mum is dead.


Sue is dead.


You know, my Mum? She’s dead.


My son’s Nanna has died.


God, he loved her so much. It’s heartbreaking. 


I can say all of that. I can write it. Stony faced. Not a single tear. 


It’s easy. My head is full. The radio is on. I’m listening to the melody. I’m saying the words of the song in my head. 


Simultaneously, I’m writing this. My heart is faster. I can feel it in my chest. But it’s all ok. I’m not sad. I don’t feel it. I’m not in pain. Everything is fine. 


But I got in my car alone this morning. I drove in silence. My head started to wander……

My Mum begged me not to let my son forget her. Mum. I’ve just seen her picture. She’s smiling. She’s so full of life. She looks great. I won’t let Bear forget her. 

How could he forget her? She was like his second Mum. 

Mum. I can’t believe that I’m not going to see her again. I’m not going to feel that familiar weight as I hug her. How? 

How is Mum dead? I don’t get it. How? Mum was so full of life! 

My Mum. I’m not going to see her again. Oh my god. It must have broken her heart. The pain she felt when she realised that she wouldn’t see Bear growing up. 

How is she dead. How did it happen? How am I going to live my life without her? I always said that I had to have my own child before Mum died otherwise I wouldn’t cope. I needed a child to make me cope. To make me get through it. 

It’s happened. I don’t understand how. She’s so important. How can life go on without her? 

My heart’s racing. I can’t breathe properly. Oh god. Radio. Turn the radio on.

La la la laaa, la la. Ok. Phew. 

The radio is on. Sing the song. la,la, dee da, laa…. it’s not working. Mum’s dead. She died. It’s not fair. Poor Bear.

I need to ring someone. When I get home. It stings. My eyes are stinging. It hurts. Ow, it hurts. 

Nearly home. Blah, blah. Click my fingers. Thumb and finger. Click, click, click, click. Focus. Turn the corner. 

Click my fingers. Click, click, click. Click,click,click,click,clickclickclickclickclick.

I want to look at my phone. I want to distract myself. I need to concentrate on something. Driving is too easy. It’s second nature. I can do it without thinking. The radio. What are they saying? Yup, I knew that. Song. Sing the song. Say the words in my head. Sing in my head. La, la laa, la la. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Faster! Ticktockticktocktick.

Boom, boom, boom, boom. Boombomboomboomboom. Squeeze. Grit my teeth. Mum’s dead. I can see her in my head. I can see me holding her. I can see the picture of me holding her. Dead. Her colour was different. That happened so quickly. It’s weird how that happens so quickly. Picture of her in her coffin. I see it. In my head. Go away. Go away.

Grind my teeth. Harder. It stings. Find a rhythm. Grind my teeth. Click, click, click, click, clickety click, clickety click. Visions are gone. Cool. Fab. Look at the sky. So blue.

Oh look, that’s changed…..

Keep my head busy….. Follow the road….. down there.

Come off here. Indicate, tick tock tick tock…..




Down there…….

Round here…….




Park. Reverse.

Ok. Now forward. Nice and straight.

Ok, get bags, in the house.

Ok. google, macmillan. Macmillan Cancer Support. Call them. What will I say? Shall I ring them? Oh. Monday to Friday. Ok. 

Maybe I should call someone when I feel like this. Maybe every time I panic, I should call someone. Talk. Get it out of my system. My bereavement counsellor says that I’m avoiding the grief. I’m avoiding feeling it. Maybe I should talk to someone. 

Shall I ask if anyone is free to talk on facebook?


I won’t do that. It’s ok. I’ll ring my friend. Mind you, it’s Sunday. All my friends will be with their families. They might be out, they won’t have time to talk and listen to me for ages. God, can you imagine? I could ruin their day!

Breathing slower now.

Samaritans. Maybe I’ll call them to just talk. Tell them about Mum. Why didn’t I think about calling these helplines before? That’s what they’re there for.


What does it say? Oh click that – What happens when you call? 

That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. I’ll read that.


Breathing normal. 


I won’t bother calling them. I don’t need to.


Everything’s fine. 


What shall I do? Feed the fish, feed the cat. 




I’ll watch Gossip Girl. I can’t believe I never watched this years ago. It’s great!


Phew. That’s better.


‘Yes, my Mum died’.


“I know. I can’t believe it”


“Hey ho. It happens to so many people.”


“Yes, we’re all fine thanks. Yes, it gets easier.”


“Time’s a healer.”


“Everything’s fine, getting back to normal.”


“I’m fine thanks. Really good. I think we’ve turned a bit of a corner”




Until the next time that my brain goes there that is……..

Grief is shit. Fuck grief. Cancer sucks ass. 

Losing someone so close. I never knew it felt like this. 

Time is not a healer. It doesn’t get easier. 

Anyway. Netflix. 

Oh yes, that’s what is happening.






Everything is fine.


I’m fine.



Hannah Spannah


  1. Oh, love. I wish I knew what to say to make it better.
    If the grief counsellor thinks you’re avoiding your grief, please please listen. It will hurt like absolute buggery to feel it – but trust me when I tell you it’ll be worse if you just stuff it down and it pops up again in a couple of years. Because then it’ll be an ugly 2-headed monster and there will be no escape.
    You can WhatsApp me any time at all. Please do. Please reach out. I know it’s hard to ask but you have to. There are so many people who want to help you if you just ask.
    Sending lots and lots of love xxx

  2. So so sorry Hannah god bless you and your mum hun. What a shocking and sad loss for you, living with RA myself I’m not sure how I could manage without my mum. I’ve been fiercely independent from her most my life till I got ill. Now I truly know how important that love is. Your writing on this subject is powerful and I’ve shared it to my Facebook as I think it would help any of my friends experiencing that sheer panic of grief. I know I’m probably just a stranger to you hun but I’m here for you if you ever want to spill it all out and have nowhere to go. I’d be happy to listen ❣️ I know it’s realy hard watching bears grief too now but don’t worry too much he will honestly be ok, children are so resilient. Just keep her memory alive, try to think about and talk about all the hundreds of wonderful moments you had with her, rather than think about the fact she’s gone, think about all the positive things she bought to your life, all the ways in which you and your sister are like her, in you guys she will live on. Big hugs Hannah stay strong ❣️ Much love and breathe easy xx

  3. Hey, Hannah so sorry about your mom. It’s not an amazing experience. My friend Dave lost his mom in an RA and since then life has not been rossy as it used to be. But God has been faithful, Gos will keep you Hannah.

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