I don’t often talk about deeply personal topics on social media, I leave it for my closest friends and family and I certainly don’t want this to be about me, but felt it was poignant to actually write this today as I know I’m not alone and want anyone in a similar situation to me know, you are not alone…
Ben and I met when we were 17 and always talked about the day we would have two children. Ideally a girl, called Annabelle and a boy (we could never decide on a name). It’s been the hardest job I have ever had. Babies are tiring, they are expensive, they are constant, but it’s been the most wonderful thing I have accomplished and I’m so proud of the two babies I have brought into this world.
As a mum myself, I now understand the work, the sleepless nights, the worry, the time and the love that my own mum put into raising two of me (because I’m a twin)! And am so grateful for everything she did to raise two daughters simultaneously, for the happy childhood memories and the life lessons she taught us when we were children / teenagers.
This year is the first year I haven’t written her a mother’s day card, instead I have thanked the most amazing women in my life who are now guiding me through my adult years and supporting me in my life decisions and raising my own children.
When I was 10 my mum was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away when I was 22, almost exactly a year before I got married. This year (I can’t believe) is the 10 year anniversary of her passing and I often reflect on what she would have been like as a grandmother. I still cry about her passing and miss her terribly but I am blessed with an incredible family, an amazing mother in law and a wonderful step mum who are the absolute best second mum’s I could ever wish for.
The longer I work in this industry, the more people I meet who are in similar situations. I spent my who teenage years, never talking about my pain as I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me or only be nice to me because of my situation. I don’t talk about it publicly now because I’m not seeking pity. But I am meeting more and more people who have similar experiences and it’s made me realise it’s not something to hide, but an opportunity to support one another.
The wedding industry is filled with joy, love and family and I see so many of my couples spending their day without one of their parents (or close relatives) by their sides. Sometimes they don’t tell me, but I listen to their speeches and I have to fight back the tears at their loss. Sometimes my couples confide in me and I appreciate the trust they have in me to share their struggles and I am so grateful for being able to support them though their bitter-sweet journey.
If you are spending today getting cross and every bloody TV advert and shop display, reminding you of the mother’s day you can’t celebrate this year, then firstly, here is a virtual hug from me and secondly today is even more special for you because you appreciate even more how amazing your mum was. Please still find some comfort in today and celebrate the incredible job your mum did of raising you and how proud she’d be of you today. Greif is a personal and individual journey and although it is something you will never recover from, each day does get easier to get by. So here’s a toast to the amazing, incredible and very much missed mum’s who did an awesome job at raising us!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH DUFFY