THE BLOG
10/13/2014 04:32 pm ET Updated Dec 13, 2014

Death. How to Handle The Living.

A dear and beautiful friend of mine had unfortunately lost her mother. Her mother was a beautiful, caring and loving person who loved her daughters and grand-daughters with all her life and would do everything to spend precious moments with them. I had the pleasure of meeting her on a number of occasions when she visited Sydney and each catch up was like seeing an old friend.

The other day, while enjoying the Sydney summer weather at the beach, my friend asked me "how did you move on and get over the death of your mum?" Yes, I too have lost my mum. She sadly left this place when I was just 17 years of age and in the final year of high school. My mum had battled cancer for many years; it first invaded her when I was a little five year old girl and the only memory I have then was spending time with her in the hospital and not wanting to leave her side. Then, for whatever reason, the cancer disappeared for what I would call, the luckiest 12 years I was going to get with my mum.

In those grateful 12 years I had a mum who knitted me mother and daughter jumpers, drove me everywhere I wanted to go, take me shopping, buy me girly dresses that I just wouldn't wear because I was such a tomboy and be there for me when I cried, helped me make decisions when I was stressed and confused and supported me in anything I wanted to do. She was my mum, my best friend, my everything. As I write this and as everyday has gone by, I still think about her and miss her so much and wished that the cards were dealt differently for me; but this is what was dealt for me.

My mum was an amazing woman. She took charge of the household and kept the family together as we all respected and loved her so much; she had the final say in everything. My family and I are still close but I know that if my mum was still around, things would be a lot different. Better or worst, I don't know, but this is my situation and I'm grateful that my family and I are still together and supporting each other. Her strength truly amazed me and in her final days where she knew that she didn't have long, she still directed, organised and arranged all of us. She still made sure that we were all OK before her.

Many years have passed and I continue to live a life that I love. There has been challenges, highs and lows, which is life in general but each day, I move forward and continue to live a filled life with amazing friends and family around me. So, how do I answer the question my friend asked? It was difficult and I sat there staring at her for a few long minutes as I was trying to find the right words and the right things to say without wanting her to hide away even further.

Like a child trying to ride a bike for the first time, I stumble around with my thoughts and decide to go with honesty and just say it from my heart. Like a relationship ending, time is what heals and helps with moving forward. The amazing thing is that humans are resilient and strong when times are tough, even if they are not feeling it at the time. Death is hard because the person isn't coming back and nor will you be able to pick up the phone and call them; all that is left are the memories you have.

For me, I realised that life continues and will keep moving forward and everything around you will keep moving. You can't just sit there while life keeps moving forward as you're going to miss out on living. There is so much to experience and so many things to enjoy and when someone close to you dies, I realised that you only have one life and one opportunity with your time here. Since accepting that, I knew that I couldn't just sit at home crying so I had to pick myself up and go out and experience life and make it the best I could.

I know that I probably still don't have the right answers or solutions to the question but what I do know and have learnt is that, my friend, you deserve to live your life and you deserve enjoy and embrace what you have here on earth. Obviously, if our situations were different, we'd have our love ones around forever, but this is our situation and the cards that were dealt to us. My advice would be to take what you have and work with it; everyones situation is different. You have your sister, nieces, family (here and overseas) and friends who love you so together we'll live a fun and full life. We'll keep moving forward.

Jo x