To the Kids of Dolores O'Riordan, Following Your Mum's Death

You don’t know me. But I’ve been where you are now. I was 18 when I lost my mum. It was three days before my brother’s 11th birthday. Right now, I’m pretty sure you’re feeling a number of emotions you may not be able to explain. You’re probably confused and angry. This may go on for a while — it’s normal. Everything you’re feeling is normal. I don’t mean “normal” in the sense of everyday, but I mean it’s your way of grieving and it’s your way of dealing with what’s just happened. Don’t feel like you should be behaving or feeling anything in particular. Just let it flow.

It’s likely there are going to be a lot of people saying and doing things you don’t quite understand or don’t think are right. You may want to tell them they aren’t doing things the way your mum would want, and that’s OK. You knew your mum better than a lot of people. So make sure they understand you have a right to share your opinion, but please, try not to shout at them; they are probably hurting too. I hope they give you the opportunity to share your feelings and provide you with the support you need. Remember, you may need guidance, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone does when we lose someone close to us. Even adults in their 50s don’t know how to cope with losing their mums.

If you feel numb and don’t know how to react, that’s OK. You may find in days or weeks to come that huge parts of these early days are missing. Grief is funny like that. I have huge chunks of the first few days after my mum died which are still missing 17 years later. Everything is just happening too fast. That’s how things happen, and it’s not something you can help. Please don’t beat yourself up for it.

No one should have to deal with the unexpected loss of a parent at such an early age. But there are those of us who have been there, and we’ll be there for you, silently standing in the wings, ready to support you. We may walk beside you in your life now, or you may find us as you grow and walk into ours. We’ll be there to discuss what it feels like, how we found closure, how we were able to continue, and show you life can be good again. Different, yes. But still good.

Take each day as it comes.

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