In the face of immense adversity, the human spirit has a remarkable ability to rise above, adapt, and emerge stronger than ever. It’s been almost two decades since Sharon lost her husband, Simon, to cancer. Yet, even in the midst of such profound grief, she managed to transform her pain into a wellspring of strength and courage, raising her two children single-handedly, running her own business as a bereavement, grief and loss therapist and writing to inspire other widows to rebuild their life. This is a story of resilience and a mother’s unyielding love, rising from the ashes, a story of triumph over grief and mental health struggles. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we hope that Sharon’s story will inspire you to make better lifestyle choices.
The day that changed everything and grief became a constant companion
When the news of Simon’s death arrived, the shockwave reverberated through their lives, leaving a void that would never be filled. Sharon has been candid about the ever-present nature of her grief: “Grief doesn’t die. It’s always alive.” As time passed, she learned to accept the ebb and flow of emotions that accompanied her loss. Sharon allowed herself to experience the depth of her pain, and in doing so, she found a way to channel that energy into raising her children.
A Mother’s Love: Turning Pain into Strength:
The profound love Sharon holds for her children provided her with the strength to push through the darkest days. She poured her heart and soul into creating a nurturing environment where her children could flourish, never allowing her grief to overshadow their well-being. Sharon’s daughter is now a successful aerobic instructor in Spain, and although Simon is not here to see her accomplishments, Sharon ensures that his memory lives on in their hearts.
Sharon, a grief and bereavement therapist living in London, has been a source of unwavering support for many people throughout their grief journey and Sharon has helped them navigate the challenging process of healing.
Sharon’s story is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the human spirit. In the face of unimaginable loss, she harnessed her grief and transformed it into a driving force that propelled her forward. By nurturing her children and ensuring they grew up surrounded by love, she honoured Simon’s memory in the most beautiful way possible. Sharon’s journey serves as a reminder that even when the storm seems unrelenting, we can find the strength within ourselves to rise above and shine through the darkness.
A Mother’s tale of love, loss, and healing
There are moments in life when the unimaginable becomes reality, and we are faced with adversity that threatens to bring us to our knees. In these moments, we witness the incredible resilience of the human spirit, as it bends without breaking and rises above the darkness. Sharon’s story is one such testament to this resilience – a tale of a mother who, faced with the loss of her husband, Simon, managed to guide her children through the depths of grief while grappling with her own emotions.
Sharon’s world was forever altered the day Simon passed away. Faced with the immense responsibility of raising her children alone, she was determined to lead by example and create an environment where her children felt safe to express their emotions. Together, they embarked on a journey of healing, each one learning to navigate the stormy seas of grief.
In the midst of her pain, Sharon knew that validating her children’s feelings was crucial. She encouraged open communication, providing a safe space for them to voice their thoughts and emotions. Sharon’s empathetic approach allowed her children to understand that their grief was valid, fostering emotional intelligence and giving them the tools necessary to process their loss.
Sharon also recognized the importance of self-care in the grieving process. As she sought therapy and practised self-reflection, she showed her children that prioritising their own emotional and physical well-being was essential. By modelling these healthy coping mechanisms, Sharon paved the way for her children to follow in her footsteps, nurturing their emotional growth.
A single mother’s love for her children knows no borders
As the family adjusted to life without Simon, they found solace in rituals and traditions that honoured his memory. Whether it was lighting candles on special occasions, planting a memorial garden, or engaging in activities they once enjoyed together, these rituals provided a sense of connection and continuity, offering comfort amidst their grief.
Sharon’s commitment to fostering resilience in her children was unwavering. She spoke openly about the inevitability of hardships in life and equipped her children with strategies to face adversity with courage. Through these conversations, her children learned to embrace the challenges life would bring and became better prepared to cope with grief , social anxiety and other difficulties.
Sharon’s story is a powerful reminder that even in the face of unimaginable loss, love and determination can pave the way for healing and growth. By acknowledging and validating her children’s emotions, demonstrating self-care, creating meaningful rituals, and encouraging resilience, Sharon not only guided her family through the grieving process but also forged an unbreakable bond that would see them through any future challenges. In this tale of love, loss, and healing, Sharon and her children discovered the true depths of their strength and the resilience of the human spirit.
She decided to be transparent in front of her children “ I wanted to give them a sense of normalcy as much as possible while realising that nothing was normal”, she says. Sharon’s son wanted to “talk about daddy all the time,” so she ended up tending to her kids’ grief separately. “Every member of the family will deal with the loss and cancer differently and they should be treated differently to match their grieving” Sharon said.
Life has a way of testing our resilience, and Sharon’s journey was no exception. As she began to regain her footing after Simon’s death, she faced challenge after challenge but with her characteristic resilience, Sharon confronted every new obstacle head-on. Determined to give her children as much normalcy as possible, Sharon faced the harsh reality that nothing was truly normal anymore. In her words, she was “suddenly living in a parallel universe.” Sharon’s capacity to adapt and respond to her children’s needs showcased her unwavering commitment to their emotional well-being, even as she faced her own battle.
Sharon’s journey is a powerful illustration of a mother’s unconditional love and indomitable spirit. Faced with immense challenges, she persevered, always putting her children first. Her willingness to embrace their individual needs and provide customised support demonstrated the depth of her love and commitment. Through her strength, Sharon offered her children the opportunity to heal and grow, creating a family bond that could weather any storm.
As she continues to face her own challenges, Sharon’s story serves as a testament to the power of resilience, love, and determination. It is a reminder to us all that, even in the darkest moments, we can find the strength within ourselves to rise above and become the guiding light for those who depend on us.
Learning Acceptance: be honest with your children
Sharon decided to cry with the children and be honest about missing her husband. When travelling by airplane with her son, Oliver, who requires special care, she had to answer a difficult question:” Why can’t I see daddy in the sky?” She had to come clean and be honest with her children. Therapy helped Sharon cope with her grief. Ultimately, she accepted that her husband loved her. It became much easier to understand his death and stepping away from depression and illness herself.
In addition to therapy, Sharon found solace in being intentional about her lifestyle and dedicating time to self-care. She designated Wednesdays as her day for personal rejuvenation – this was the day her favourite aerobic class took place, and her therapist had a recurring appointment slot. Sharon extended this practice to Fridays, using the day to indulge in activities such as grocery shopping or eating out.
Wednesdays became sacred for Sharon, representing a time to focus on her own needs. If she needed to crawl back into bed and cry, she allowed herself that space without guilt or shame. This commitment to self-care not only helped her heal but also reinforced the importance of prioritising her own well-being.
Sharon’s journey of healing and self- acceptance is a powerful reminder of the importance of honesty and self-care in the face of grief. By choosing to be candid with her children about their father’s death and her own emotions, Sharon empowered them to process their loss in a healthy and genuine way. Her dedication to self-care demonstrated the significance of nurturing our own well-being in order to better support those around us.
Sharon’s story is an inspiring testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit, a lesson in courage and love that transcends even the most difficult of circumstances. By embracing honesty, acceptance, and self-care, she has shown us that it is possible to triumph over adversity and become a beacon of hope for others.
Grief birthed a new life purpose, the reason for being
In the face of immense grief, Sharon discovered a wellspring of resilience and purpose. As she navigated the tumultuous waters of loss, she found ways to channel her pain into actions that would benefit both herself and others who were struggling.
Sharon made significant lifestyle changes, such as giving up sugar, to prioritise her well-being and set a positive example for her children. Her experiences inspired her to write a book, “Widowed with Kids,” chronicling her journey through grief and providing solace to others who faced similar challenges. Sharon’s dedication to healing and growth didn’t stop there.
Rose in Bloom – A Sanctuary for the Grieving:
Building on her own experience, Sharon opened her own bereavement therapy practice, “Rose in Bloom.” This safe space provided support and guidance for those experiencing the deep pain of loss, offering understanding, empathy, and hope. Rose in Bloom became a sanctuary for countless individuals, a testament to Sharon’s unwavering commitment to helping others through their darkest moments.
Driven by a deep sense of purpose, Sharon sought to reach even more people who were grieving. She began offering free daily online conversations about grief, connecting with women worldwide to help them navigate their own grief journeys. These sessions created a sense of community and connection, empowering women to share their stories, find solace in one another, and begin the process of healing together.
Sharon’s story is a remarkable example of the power of purpose born from grief. By channelling her pain into action, she transformed her own life and touched the lives of countless others. Sharon’s journey serves as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that even in the most trying times, we have the capacity to find strength and purpose within ourselves.
Through her book, therapy practice, and online sessions, Sharon has cultivated a legacy of compassion and resilience, offering a guiding light for those grappling with loss. Her story is an inspiring reminder that grief can birth purpose, and that by embracing our pain and reaching out to others, we can make a profound impact on the world around us.
The sweet illusion: unmasking the trap of sugar solace
Every challenge we face, from grief to mental health, is a mountain we are destined to climb. With each step, we ascend towards resilience, understanding, and inner strength. Just remember, the view from the summit—where we find our triumph, our growth, and our healing—makes the journey not just worthwhile, but profoundly meaningful. When asked what is the highest ‘mountain’ she ever climbed, Sharon told us about giving up sugar and chocolate.
“As a bereavement and grief specialist, I have always found strength in the resilience of the human spirit, witnessing how people adapt and find solace in the face of unimaginable loss. However, when the pandemic struck, the volume and intensity of grief I encountered in my work became overwhelming. Amid the relentless surge of loss and sorrow, I found an unlikely refuge in the deceptively comforting embrace of chocolate. It was a soothing balm against the gnawing pain of the world, a sweet distraction that momentarily dulled the harsh realities of my profession.
It got to a point where I jokingly told my colleagues that I would rather die than give up my chocolate. But, as the pandemic wore on, I began to realize the truth behind my jest. My ‘love’ for chocolate had metamorphosed into a need, a crutch I leaned on to navigate the turbulent times. It was no longer about the sweet taste or the velvety texture; it was about the temporary solace it offered from the storm outside. I was not addicted to chocolate; I was addicted to the escape it provided from life’s challenges.”
The real wake-up call came when Sharon started to understand the health implications of her sugar-laden solace. The excess sugar was not only affecting her physical health, leading to weight gain and lethargy, but it was also influencing her emotional wellbeing. The temporary relief was often followed by guilt, and the vicious cycle of comfort eating continued.
Recognizing this was the first step towards change, Sharon realized that her reliance on chocolate was a symptom, not the problem itself. The real issue was how she was dealing with stress and grief – or, more accurately, how she wasn’t dealing with it. She began to educate herself about the dangers of added sugar, understanding its impact on the body and mind. This awareness was eye-opening. She realized that by seeking comfort in chocolate, she was actually exacerbating her stress and anxiety in the long run.
Armed with this knowledge, Sharon started to take steps towards change. She sought healthier coping mechanisms, such as writing, meditation, exercise, and connecting with nature. She replaced chocolate snacks with healthier alternatives, such as fruits, nuts, and yogurt. The journey was far from easy but each step, however small, was a victory.
“The pandemic has been a crucible of challenges, but it also provided an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. I learned that we often seek solace in harmful habits, masking our stress and pain with temporary comforts like sugar. But these are mere illusions, offering momentary relief at the cost of our long-term health and wellbeing.
Today, I can confidently say that I have broken free from sugar. I’ve learned to face my challenges head-on, finding strength in healthier habits and mindful practices. I’ve realized that true solace comes from within, not from a bar of chocolate. It comes from the ability to navigate life’s challenges with resilience, grace, and compassion.”
The path to change is often paved with obstacles, but it is a journey worth embarking on. For in the pursuit of health and wellbeing, we not only add years to our life but also life to our years. Learn from Sharon to keep your heart singing, your spirits soaring, and your bodies dancing to the rhythm of vitality, even in the face of adversity.
The loss of a loved one can be a crushing blow, leaving an indelible mark on our lives and forever altering the way we perceive the world. For mothers and children, this loss can be particularly traumatising, as they face the daunting task of navigating grief while trying to maintain a semblance of stability in their daily lives. According to the World Health Organization, mental health disorders affect millions of people globally, and the trauma from losing a loved one can significantly exacerbate these conditions.
Despite the heartache and seemingly insurmountable challenges, there are stories that inspire us and remind us of the indomitable human spirit – stories of resilience, courage, and triumph over tragedy. Sharon’s story is one such tale that captivates the heart and offers a ray of hope for those engulfed in the darkness of grief. This is the story of a mother who, after losing her husband to cancer, faced her own battle with illness and single-handedly raised her two children, guiding them through the storm of grief with unwavering strength and love.
In the face of adversity, Sharon discovered a wellspring of purpose and resolve, using her experiences to help others navigate the complexities of loss and mental health challenges. This is a story that demonstrates the transformative power of resilience, a testament to the idea that even in our darkest moments, we possess the strength to rise above and become a beacon of hope beyond our children and loved ones, a guiding light for total strangers, including ourselves.
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