I know that a lot of you already know this news because you are either part of my family, in my group or friends, or have seen it on facebook, twitter or iVillage UK. But for those of you who just pop by the blog once in a while or who have only just stumbled across the Patch, I need to tell you something before this post will make any sense.
On Sunday 14th August I received a phonecall telling me that my 24 year old cousin had died overnight. The cause of death has since been given as "Sudden Adult Death Syndrome".
This is my cousin (furthest on the right)
I wish I had a more recent photo than the ones taken at our wedding last October, but I cannot seem to find any right now.
My cousin was well loved and well respected by so many people and it has shocked the entire family and so many of the people we know. I've spent most of the past week talking to family about what has happened and trying to get my head around the fact that this is real.
And so, when I wrote my weekly article for iVillageUK on pregnancy this week I knew that I had to write about this loss and how it affects us. You can read the article here, and I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to check it out and pass on the link to others, as you never know who might be facing the loss of a loved one during an emotionally heightened time such as pregnancy.
As with most of the articles I write, the words came tumbling out once I started writing because I had already been thinking it through in my head for several days before I sat down at the computer to write it. I knew I wanted to share all the thoughts and feelings that I was experiencing that are perhaps unique to losing someone whilst expecting a new life, but I also knew that it was crucial to do justice to the range of emotions that anybody who loses a loved one goes through. And even more than that, I wanted to ensure that I made it clear just how much my cousin will be missed.
Since submitting the article for publication on the site, I have had several people mention how beautifully written it was and several more who have thanked me for finding the strength to write such an article. And it is these comments that made me want to write this post about why I write.
You see, writing is very natural to me. I write the way I think and obviously the way I think makes a lot of sense to other people otherwise I wouldn't get such sweet comments. And I decided a long time ago that I wanted to use the skill I had been given to draw attention to those aspects of life that are so often hard to discuss. It started with writing about my Endometriosis, developed on to writing about trying to conceive and then the dark side of pregnancy, and has taken me to a place I didn't think I'd be going so soon, that of a death in the family.
I'm an honest person and find it very difficult not to wear my heart on my sleeve and show just how I am feeling. But even that doesn't explain just why I write and why however much appreciated the comments about my writing are, they sometimes give me credit for something I haven't even thought of. You see, for me, writing is like a kind of therapy. It allows me to pull all my thoughts and feelings together and to then set them free. And this stops me from stewing too long and hard on something and actually helps me heal from whatever issues I may be facing.
Knowing that what I write helps and inspires others is a wonderful gift that I shall be forever grateful for, but in all honesty it is a happy coincidence that comes from doing what I need to do. Writing the article about my cousin's death helped me to come to terms with what I was feeling. It helped me to get my head around all the various issues it brought up and by admitting how I felt it made those that were less-than-positive feel more acceptable. I didn't have to hide how I felt and that was incredibly soothing.
And that is why I write. Because I can. And because it helps me. And in this instance it gave me the best possible chance of honouring the life of someone I loved and wish I had more time to get to know even better.
Thank you for letting me share my heart with you all. It means a lot.