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Dealing with Grief

Orla McTasney, aged 21

Dealing with the loss of a close family member is one of the hardest experiences I ever dealt with.”

The loss of a loved one is a painful experience. For some, it can be incredibly lonely. For others, it can take a long time before the heaviness of grief lifts. Guest blogger, Orla, shares her experience of dealing with grief and how she learned to open up about her feelings.

In 2019, a dark cloud appeared over my life. Sitting at the bedside of someone close to me in the Intensive Care Unit for a week was an incredibly difficult experience, but it doesn’t compare to what happened next, which was losing the most important person in my life – my sister.

I lost my sister to Cystic Fibrosis – a life threatening illness which is a horrible illness for anyone to have to live with – and this experience has affected my mental health in many ways. I felt lonely, even though I knew I had support from my friends and family. My sister & I did everything together. I feel like I’ve lost my right arm. I didn’t think I would have been able to talk about this loss and I was worried about telling people the impact my grief was having on me. I held back from talking to my friends and family because I thought people would judge me and think I’m a different person. Even with their support, my sister’s passing is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life.

Quote for Dealing with the Grief: "My sister's passing is the hardest thing I've had to deal with in my life."

But I knew I needed to move forwards and do something with my life, so I made the decision to join a six month Journeys programme with Springboard. Springboard has helped me in many ways. It’s helped me with my confidence in talking about things that I would have never been able to speak about, including losing my sister. But doing the Journeys programme has helped me overcome so much as Springboard’s leaders have supported me in gaining more confidence and having my family and friends around me meant a lot, as I was able to start talking to them. 

Making the decision to join Springboard was the best choice for me and it’s been an opportunity to prove to myself that I can talk and share things with other people without fear or insecurity. After doing the six month Springboard programme, I decided to go onto Springboard’s JobWorks+ programme to pursue youth work. I would like to help a person who was – or is – in the same situation as me. 

For anyone who is dealing with the grief and painful loss of a loved one, I want you to know it’s okay to talk and it’s okay not to be okay. There is support out there to help you, including Care for the Family and The Loss Foundation.

I hope my story helps you.

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