Written by Louise
When someone important to us dies, our life as we know it changes forever. Waves of emotions can hit you at any time, especially in the first weeks and months and we can sometimes be left questioning who we are and what we are doing in this world.
“I never imagined there would be a day that my sister wouldn’t be here”
My perception of the world changed in an instant. I turned 24 years old just three days before my sister died. We were very close in age and most of my childhood memories are of us playing; when we laughed and sang and messed around. Our relationship changed as we grew. My sister started a family and got a job and I moved away for university, but we still remained close. I never imagined there would be a day that my sister wouldn’t be here.
After I got over the initial shock of losing my sister and my emotions started to settle, I became acutely aware of my own mortality. I had an ‘I could die tomorrow’ mindset. This led to me making bigger decisions more easily and allowed me to re-assess my life and the direction I was going.
“I feel a deep sadness that my sister didn’t know I was gay”
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I accepted myself for being gay, but I remember thinking about my sexuality and memories of times when I had pushed those thoughts away came flooding back. I had spent my whole life ignoring who I was for many reasons. Once I allowed myself the freedom to explore my sexuality, I knew without a doubt that I was gay and today I proudly and openly call myself a lesbian.
I often wonder how my life would have looked if I’d accepted myself earlier or if my sister didn’t die would I have even accepted myself at all? I feel a deep sadness that my sister didn’t know I was gay. I sometimes think of how she would have reacted and conjure up a funny story in my head of how I would have told her, or what she would have said. I know she would have accepted and loved me regardless of who I loved.
Grief is often life changing and for me it allowed me to finally be who I was all along. If you are grieving and also struggling with or exploring your sexuality you are not alone. Make sure you reach out to those around you who you trust and be kind to yourself. Grief can be hard enough to navigate and thinking about our sexuality and how it relates to our grief can feel even harder.
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How to speak to Winston’s Wish
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, email and live chat service where you can talk to bereavement professionals.
If you need urgent support in a crisis, you can contact the 24/7 Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger by texting WW to 85258.