14 January 2016

sharing loss on social media and moving forward

When you have a following online, my number isn't a crazy amount but I have loyal readers and followers across my network, who have become use to seeing my life through photos and words, loosing mum was an odd situation to process, how do I share this. I had never really had to deal with sucha loss. This was a tough one for me to write, as a lot of you would be aware, I lost my mother at the end of September, it is still somewhat raw. In the last four months I have flitted between my social media accounts be it twitter, Instagram or here on my blog, it has been rather tough whittling down my thoughts so they aren't overly depressing. My blog was always a place for me to share my inner most thoughts, feelings and creative outlet. But suddenly I felt like I couldn't share how I felt with the world and I'm sure this is normal and you're probably thinking "really Ella this shouldn't of been your top priority at this time." It was hard to change a habit of a life time. Instgram was more instant, I didn't have to share many words or the reality we were facing.

 I made a conscious choice to Instagram a photo from the morning I'd watched my mother fight for her life, by the time I shared it on Instagram it had been made clear to my family, mum wouldn't pull through, in a lonely moment walking from her bed back to the waiting room I decided to document this moment, between having hope and loosing it. It felt natural and at the time I was somewhat detached from my feelings, all feelings other then heart break and if I'm honest I didn't want to feel alone. Believe me I wanted to tell the world the horror I had faced that morning, how dare you share your lovely snaps of happy selfies and beautiful coffee art. How dare you not know the heart wrenching hell I had been through, but I couldn't summon much more then "send your prays" I'm not even religious but in those moments I just wanted things to be normal, I didn't want to feel alone. I didn't hate anyone for living their life on that somewhat normal morning, my mums death was no ones fault.

We spent three long days by mum's side and the heart breaking truth was we lost her at home, probably when I was telling her I was there and it was going to be ok, we realised no one was going to give up on her if their was a chance, so three days of no sleep and knowing the end result but still having to face sitting with her, talking to her and holding her hand was unimaginable but we did it. People rarely want to hear a sad story, they want you to put a happy spin on things, they want you to tell them everything was going to be ok, believe me I wanted that more then anything. On several occasions I got the poor nurse to check if mum's eye had moved. She reassured me every time it wasn't possible, but she still checked. Death isn't nice and to face it head first with no comfort was tough, but that's the thing we are tougher then we realise. 

Afraid I'd forget how this felt I shared that corridor photo and over the following days and weeks I naturally shared how my heart felt. My mum was a major part of my blog and what I did everyday. She was the reason I was working so hard, she became a major advocate of my online work and blog also as my occasional photographer I'd shared 5 years worth of our trips, days out, interestsdrawing adventures and shopping  . If I hadn't shared these photos on my blog years ago some of them normal, mundane moments my blog wouldn't be what it is today, so in the midst of loosing my mother I decided to carry on doing what my lifestyle blog was about, my life, documenting and sharing my photos for me has become second nature, I decided to share more personal moments like the funeral and such on my facebook and not across the interner as I took into account family and friends.

In this time away from sharing all my thoughts on social media as I found I didn't want to depress my readers or followers with my upset I took to journaling my moments, I can not recommend this process enough, I keep my journal with me at all times, I even brought a special fountain pen to write with, making me feel like it's something important to my healing process. I treat it like a therapy that has become second nature for me.

I hid from my twitter for a while as I felt alienated from my followers/people I was following,  I still kind of do. It's such a fast paced platform I didn't have the effort left to keep up with it. Soon after mum passed I didn't want to read about all these joyous things people were doing, I didn't want to watch a video about a Lush haul or how you're succeeding, selfish I guess. I had realised very quickly that the world moves on and you're the girl who lost her mum, why should anyone care, its not their place, they have their own battles to fight. Many other people have been in my situation and so many more will after me. It doesn't change the effect it has on you and your story. I have learned that sharing your failures, heart break and loss online helped me realise I wasn't alone. Everyone's loss is different,  my mothers death has pushed me to create work, I have had many emails, comments and converstations with people who have told me they wouldn't be able to get out of bed if they had been in my situation. Don't get me wrong dragging myself out of bed is the hardest part of my day. If I stay still too long thats not good for my heart or mind, so you find things to do. 

 I have shared my work online as a sort of creative nod to my heart break, the more work I share the sadder I probably am. My work load has tripled in the last four months to keep my head, hands and heart busy. Being vulnerable and sharing your loss online for me is similar to sharing your creative work, we put ourselves out their hoping that someone will give us praise, love and hope in ourselves and in our future. 

If you are suffering a loss, heartbreak or aren't feeling yourself don't be afraid to hide this. Share what you feel comfortable with, its your space and your words can heal you and others and subsequently if you want to keep it to yourself, there is nothing wrong with that. Everything takes time. I seek comfort in my art and my blog, I mainly love photographing mundane everyday moments, I find comfort in that.  Take the time for yourself, I spoke about using my journal to help me process my feelings, but I have finally fallen back in love with reading. It transports my mind and stops me worrying about silly things that I can't change. Putting your feelings into something positive be it learning a new skill, dancing about to loud music or like me, drawing can really help you produce something of joy from something so awful.
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12 comments

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for taking the time, in the middle of it all, to share your feelings and to encourage others to do the same.

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  2. This must have been so hard to write. I can't even begin to imagine how hard these past few months must have been for you and I am deeply sorry for your loss. Something that scares me the most would be living in this world without my mum. This is probably why everything you have written in the past few months have touched me so deeply. I honestly have had tears well up in my eyes at most posts you have put up lately. It is so, so, so brave of you to show this vulnerable side of you at this time in your life. I greatly admire you for that.

    Take Care.
    Love, Eline

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  3. Oh Ella this brought tears to my eyes, I've lost someone in my life who I loved beyond words, after that happened I wrote poems and they helped me a great deal. My thoughts will always be with you, you're very brave, sending lots of love your way X

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  4. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for your beautiful words here.

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  5. I admire you hugely for being able to articulate this at all, and for having the gusto and grace to share it with all of us. What you're writing about it is a subject that's permeated every part of mine and my boyfriends life in the last year, and yet it's something we've both chosen not to write about online. I really appreciate you taking the time to summarise that it's great to share, and equally fine not to share as well. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone in your experience, or in your bewilderment, anger, frustration, loss, happiness, joy, motivation, perspective and all the rest of it; and it's nice to hear affirmation that none us are alone either.

    Lots of love to you, Ella!

    Flora
    x

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  6. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it's special that you are continuing to do what your mother encouraged you to do. She'd be so proud. Stay strong and thank you for sharing your story with us.
    x

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  7. I lost my dad in October and can totally relate to everything in this post. I used to love blogging, reading blogs and scrolling through Instagram, but it's only been in the last few weeks I've been able to enjoy it all again - there's something so jarring about seeing snaps of brunches and people having nice days out when you're experiencing something awful. I chose not to share it on social media but I sort of wish I had now, perhaps I will in future. Like you, I hope to channel it all into doing the things I enjoy. Keep it up :)

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  8. Ella this was beautiful to read. Your Mama would be so proud of you right now~ what I adore most about you (and your blog!) is how real, authentic and thoughtful you always, always are. To wonder whether your readers are wondering when you're nursing so much for yourself. Sending all my love as always beautiful lady xxxx

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Ella
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