24 June is my 51st birthday; my 51st year has been one of the most challenging. My fiftieth birthday was during the last lockdown and right before mum went into palliative care so there were no celebrations. Mum was the last of the three matriarchs in my family. This has been a year of much grief and loss and great change along with many health challenges. Grief changes you in ways that you can’t describe. I feel almost like a snake that has shed is skin, I no longer fit into the old skin, I am no longer that person.

You often hear that time heals (in regards to grief). I don’t think that is true. Based on my experience and talking to others, I think all that changes is you get used to living without that person and more able to get back into your every day life. The pain doesn’t just go away, it becomes your constant companion. Sometimes it is dull and in the background and at other times is sharp or heavy and literally knocks you over when you least expect it.

I know I am not unique, none of us get out of this thing called life alive; so we will all experience grief throughout our lives. I just think it is important to have honest and sometimes hard conversations. Sometimes people feel pressure to get over it; and feel like there is something wrong with them, if they can’t. If you are really struggling, please do see a grief counsellor. It is important to know that grief isn’t just this tidy little thing that you experience and then neatly put away in your past. It is an overwhelming, humbling and transformational experience.

I am becoming something new, hard yet soft, wiser, scarred, brave and grateful and still sad, very sad. I am healing and yet still very raw, as I grow a new skin for the next phase of my life! Sending love to anyone else who is feeling fragile at the moment.

Fiona Kane is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Mind Body Eating Coach, Holistic Counsellor, Professional Speaker and writer on Health and Nutrition and the founder of Informed Health.