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This is one of the hardest blog posts I think I have ever written. I am writing it as I want to explain to you the absolute value of being part of a community who cares, understands and ‘gets it’.
So 18 months ago I lost a friend. She passed away after a 6 year on off battle with cancer.
She was a ‘mum friend’ a friend I had made when attending antenatal classes when I was pregnant with Joseph, my first son.
Together we had shared the ups and downs, the highs and lows of learning how to be a parent, of how to take the rough with the smooth.
When she phoned me to tell me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time I was devastated. I remember putting my foot in it and saying the wrong thing so many times as I was scared, anxious and frightened for her.
This was the real world and in that moment I realised that we are not immortal.
So I was there for her, her daughter and her husband as she went through treatment, watched her hair full out and generally faced the hardest journey I had ever watched anyone face.
I was so full of admiration for her strength, her tenacity and her absolute focus that she would get better. And she did, twice. Then the third time it took so much out of her, she kept fighting, kept holding on but eventually I lost my beautiful, courageous, loving friend.
I have never ‘lost’ anyone so involved in my life before. Other than grandparents as a child who we used to see but not frequently so I was not prepared to experience the big gaping hole that was left in my daily life.
Her daughter and my son are also really good friends and my lovely boy wanted to be there for his friend, to help her and be the best person he could be for her. She was and still is an amazing little girl.
My husband is also good friends with her husband, so we all were, and still are really connected and in my mind, always will be.
But there was this grief, this absolute sense of loss that I found so hard to deal with.
At first friends were part of this journey, people who had known and loved my friend like I had.
But what I came to realise was that people deal with grief and bereavement very very differently. And eventually I could not find the words to say I was still not okay, I still struggled with missing my friend as I worried that I was bothering these people who didn’t want to be reminded of their own grief, let alone mine.
Don’t get me wrong, there were people who I could speak to, met up with, talked and shared memories with, but as mum life is, these meet ups were sporadic and I was dealing with this grief every single day.
As part of my business I had completed a number of online programs and was familiar with being part of ‘Facebook Groups’ which built communities of like minded people. However, I always viewed them from a business perspective, never from the perspective of sharing something which was eating me up inside.
In my friends last weeks I was gripped with pain and fear. I just didn’t want her to suffer anymore but I wanted her to stay, to be the person I love and to be a mum to her daughter, the mum she so wanted to be.
So at 11pm at night, when I couldn’t sleep, when I just kept bursting into tears for no reason, I reached out to a safe community which I had joined Kate Spencers Life and Soul Academy
I shared my pain, my fears and let people know exactly how I was feeling in a no holds barred kind of way.
And I never felt judged.
The comments on my posts were always supportive, always understanding and if people didn’t know what to say they just sent me and my friend and her family love and positive thoughts.
You have no idea how much this helped me at a very very difficult time in my life.
And this became my lifeline, my place I could go at any time to let it out. Even if I didn’t need a solution, just somewhere to say what I needed to say was an absolute gift to me.
You see sometimes seeing mum friend’s day in day out or even meeting for coffee may not be the time you are really feeling it, the time you really need to share, and be heard.
It also helped having people listen who weren’t emotionally attached to the situation so that they could step back and hold space for me whilst I tried to understand and come to terms with what happened.
And that was the most invaluable piece of support I have ever had.
So, why am I telling you this truly personal story which has taken me time to feel ready to post publicly?
Because that is my motivation for doing what I do, for creating a community which can truly support mums and the struggles that they face.
I truly want to be there for mums at their time of need, a place for them to turn, somewhere safe and non-judgemental.
My beautiful friend guides me in everything I do, she is the butterflies in my logo and she has been supporting me and encouraging me at every step of bringing this wonderful space together.
My Calm Mums Community has been created in her memory and for me to share and support others as much as I was supported in those difficult times. I still access and use my online community to support me in daily struggles and challenges and I am so so grateful to have it there, whenever I need it.
So there it is. Online communities are so much more than just ‘chat groups’. My experience is that they were the most important lifeline in my life and I want to create the space for it to be a lifeline in yours too.
And every day I learn a little bit more about how to look after myself in this sense of loss, safe in the knowledge that I have my community to go to if it ever feels to hard, too overwhelming or too difficult.
And I am eternally grateful for that.
Love Clare x
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