Yesterday was Ellen’s Graduation day…. There I said it….. Sometimes saying something makes it real and that makes it really hard to say it. What a lovely thing though to be able to collect a piece of paper honouring someone else’s huge amount of effort.
Many ‘all nighters’, many ‘I can’t do this conversations’, many ‘I can and I will do this conversations’, much babysitting and a little proof reading – our contribution – (although a lot of last minute so there was no time to do this). Everyone who has ever studied anything will know of the stress, the pressure, the late nights, the feeling of success when you (and I quote Ellen) ‘bossed it’.
On the day of Ellen’s funeral her tutor Julia handed us something. It was the last piece of work she did. Ellen didn’t know it but she had a fantastic mark! She knew she was clever, she knew she could ‘boss this’. And she did. She got a 2:1 honours degree from Leeds Beckett in Events Management. She was always going to be brilliant. So creative so enthusiastic. Every ounce of her went into a project when she started to think about it. I used to say when she was little ‘Why do you always have to turn even the simplest of things into a west end show’? Its just how it was with Ellen, all or nothing.
Yesterday was a bittersweet day. We are so proud of Ellen and what she would have achieved. I watched the parents and grandparents, the Graduands becoming Graduates and when Roger and I walked together to collect Ellen’s degree certificate it just felt so wrong, but so right that we should collect it for her. She should have been there. Ellen’s Brother and Sister in Law were there, her Grandma, her Fiance, one of her Best Friends and we were all quite nervous about how we would feel.
You see when your daughter, son, brother, sister, mother, father, aunty, uncle……. takes their own life and you carry on everyone thinks ‘you are amazing’, ‘You are so strong’, ‘You are inspirational’. No we are not. We are coping, we are surviving, we are putting up a front. Our mental health has taken a huge sideways blow. There are tears, frustration, regrets and so so much sadness. It never goes away. Every day it’s there. But funnily enough we are ok, we are really ok. Ellen is not here but her beautiful boy still is and we stay positive for him, for our families and our friends. He is amazing just like Ellen.
Our little calendar is about helping people like Ellen and all those other people just like her (or us) who are struggling.
#MFM #mental health #mind #headstogether