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Life milestones and grief: Turning 18 and becoming an adult

Life milestones and grief: Turning 18 and becoming an adult

Home » Stories » Life milestones and grief: Turning 18 and becoming an adult

I’m writing this the night before my 18th birthday, and I wanted to share some feelings of grief as I become an ‘adult’.

As I turn 18, I feel like I have lost my childhood with my mam, despite losing her at age 13. It feels officially over. It feels like only now have I lost my childhood with her. I feel cheated of the time we deserved together, the milestones in my life that she’s missed, and the ones she never got to have.

She didn’t even get to turn 40. She was extremely undeserving of the pain and suffering she faced because of cancer. Everyone talks about how amazing she was and how much good she did for them. She deserved a full and happy life. She deserved to see me grow up. She deserved better.

I feel robbed of the memories I had with mam because I think grief has made me forget her or block her out. I’m left with completely forgotten times and, at best, blurry memories.

One of my mam’s old friends reminded me of what she smelled like – cigarettes and the pink raspberry shampoo you get from supermarkets – and that’s exactly what she smelled like. I feel closer and like I remembered her better after being reminded of that. She felt more real to me and less like a distant memory. I have a vivid image of her in my head.

Despite having many amazing memories, I feel like I should have treasured every moment and every detail. I feel like I took her for granted. Maybe everyone took her for granted, not knowing how limited my mother’s time was.

I fear the future without her. I’m going to university next month, and she isn’t here to help me through it, which is the same for every other aspect of my future. She won’t be here for the rest of my life, as she hasn’t been for five years. Although I won’t be a child anymore, I’ll still feel like one waiting for my mam.

I’ll be growing up with grief. But I’ll always know that as long as I’m still here, it’s not too late to love and remember her.


How to get help

If you’re struggling with grief right now, Winston’s Wish is here to help and here to listen. Winston’s Wish provides support for grieving children and young people (up to the age of 25). We offer one-to-one and group support sessions. We also have lots of online resources and a Helpline and email service where you can talk to bereavement professionals.

You can call us for free on 08088 020 021 (open 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday), email ask@winstonswish.org or use our live chat (open 3-8pm, Monday to Friday) and find out more on our Get Support page.

If you need urgent support in a crisis, you can contact the 24/7 Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger by texting WW to 85258.