Episode #007

Loss of a dad: Hannah Moger



Hannah Moger:  I am Hannah and 5 years ago when I was 20, I lost my dad.

Chris Sandys: Hey Chris here.

Claire Sandys: And Claire. And this is The Silent Why.

Hannah:  My guilty pleasure is to blend up biscuits and add in melted butter and eat it by the spoonful. And I’ve never understood why I’ve never been a size 6.

Chris: In this episode we’re chatting to a really good friend, Hannah Moger, as we share another loss in our mission to find 101 different types.

Claire: Sadly, a few years ago, Hannah’s world was turned upside down when her dad died very suddenly.  

Hannah: My sister literally followed the police car to my mum’s house who then told us that dad had died.

Chris: It’s been a long road for Hannah, learning to process the unexpected death of a parent. We asked if she’d be willing to share something of this for our podcast, and she agreed.

Hannah - I didn’t feel like it was happening to me, I felt like I was observing it happen to someone else, I think is the best way to explain it.

Claire: Amazingly, through her grief, Hannah has found a new appreciation for life and how she views time with family and those around her.

Hannah – I just think you can die tomorrow, don’t leave anything unsaid, don’t hold grudges, all of that cliche stuff, just take some appreciation for every time you open your eyes.

Chris: So, to the chat. We kicked off by asking her where she’s living and what she does with herself during the week...

Hannah: I am Hannah. I've recently moved to Liverpool with my husband, Jon and my cat, Mrs. Hudson. I do marketing for a Christian publishing company and charity.

Claire: Cool. So why don't you tell us a bit about growing up? So, your family, who was in your house and what was family life like?

Hannah: Growing up, I was in a house where mum and dad and my two sisters, we always had dogs, ranging from one to three at any point, life was always quite busy. We were always encouraged into dancing, horse riding, football, and would very rarely have an evening or weekend or even a day as a family during term time, because we were here, there, and everywhere. It was a good childhood. My parents very much devoted their lives to us and did everything they could to give us the opportunities they never had. We were always encouraged to try everything and discouraged from giving anything up too quickly, which is definitely something that I'm thankful for.

Claire: So, I'm wondering why you switched to a cat when you had your own home?

Hannah: Because dogs are too much commitment. I'd love a dog, I would much rather have a dog, but we don't live a lifestyle that would be fair to a dog. And it's so much easier asking a neighbour to pop in one once a day to feed the cat for a long weekend, then try and work out logistics with the dog and having it walked and everything, it's just it's too much, but I can still steal mums on occasion.

Claire: Did you have any particular dreams when you were older, when you were a child, was there anything in particularly, you really wanted to do or achieve later on, what sort of child were you?

Hannah: No. I was always the bored kid at school. Like I, all the way through primary school, I picked up work very easily and never had to work hard at school. Everything just kind of came to me. Until kind of Year 11 when exams mattered and that kind of scared me, but I never, there was nothing really other that I wanted to do. I thought I might want to be a teacher at one point, but I'd never really had aspirations, I think, probably down to my parents, they never, they were never career focused. My mum gave up work when she got pregnant with my eldest sister and never went back to work until that sister joined, started university and my dad always kept work very separate from home life. It was, I go to work to pay the bills, not to do anything else. So, I don't think we were ever really career minded, or like, focused on that. Which I've never really thought about before.

Claire: It's interesting, you sound like you were quite content?

Hannah: Like looking back now on my dad's salary, mum never working, and three kids, and all the extracurricular stuff that we used to do money must have been tight, but we never knew that and never wanted for anything. It used to annoy me that my friends would go to Greece on holiday and Florida, and we'd go to like Devon for a week in a caravan, but other than that, we were so busy and we were always doing things that we never really noticed any different.

Chris: I'm wondering how, before we move on to a subject that you know, was quite life defining, how dramatic was childhood, how familiar were you with drama within the family unit?

Hannah: We,are strong women in my family. Something that I've very much had to work on over the last few years, to not be as strong as I've been brought up to be. Like three sisters, we would very much shout and scream at each other. Say unspeakable things to each other, and then two minutes later be on the sofa watching telly. And that was very normal. My dad was a lot more passive, just waited for mum to stop or like calm down, which Jon does, which is the most infuriating thing when you're angry at someone and they just don't give you anything back. It was explosive, but for short periods and then we were fine, which I think is quite typical of a lot of, a lot of families.

Chris: Did you scrap much? Was there physical violence between these strong women in your house or is it mostly just verbal?

Hannah: Mostly verbal. Natalie was very good, if I laugh my muscles go to mush, I can't do anything. So, my sister would, if I annoyed my sister, she'd make me laugh and then chase me up the stairs and grab my leg and pull me down because I just have no strength to get away from her. And then she like, not badly, but like as siblings do, but she'd always make me laugh. And as soon as she made me laugh, I, I knew I was done for. It's so annoying.

Chris: It's a quick way to diffuse any sort of argument, isn't it? Yeah. I'm just going to make you laugh and then that's it. Jelly, jelly body. Uh, you're going down.

Claire: Had you experienced much loss growing up at all?

Hannah: Um, my granddad died when I was 10. He had dementia for four or five years before, and then he had a stroke. He was 74 when he died, and when I was 10, I was like, oh, he's an old man, like that's old. Whereas Jon's dad is now, I think he's now 73, and the fact that that was my granddad already in a home with dementia is just crazy to me. How being that bit older, 74's so young and to been in a home for so long before that, is just crazy. But apart from that, it was only when you hear like your distant, great aunt's died or that kind of thing. My granddad was the only one that I had lost close to me.

Claire: What about pets, if you have those dogs, did you have to go through losing any of those?

Hannah: Yeah, Sam died, similar time, I think he died about a month after my granddad, with similar time. But my mum was very good at adopting patents, still is. So, she said no more dogs ever again, and then within a year we had Max rock up at home, with no warning to anyone else. She just went and saw him and fell in love, and then brought him home same day.

Claire: I had an Auntie like that she used to have a horse in the kitchen.

Chris: [laughs]

Hannah: How big was the kitchen?!

Claire: She had quite a small kitchen, but she was at this little horse called Smartie, and she just rehomed him, and he'd come into the kitchen and eats like chunks of apple off the work surface.

Chris: Not like a whole animal inside the kitchen?

Claire: Yeah, yeah, I've got a photo somewhere of Smartie inside the kitchen, just right in the kitchen, eating apples.

Chris: I mean, not many people have the kitchen, the size that could actually hold, hold a horse.

Claire: This is when she lived in the Shack.

Chris: Was it like a tiny pony? Like a, Shetland.

Claire: Quite small, no it wasn't a Shetland, it was a pony, but, um, yeah, he used to come in the kitchen.

 I digress. If you think about the months leading up to the time when you lost your dad, do you remember much about what life was like then as a contrast to what it was like after? What was happening in your life?

Hannah: So, it was quite weird really because I had a friend at university still very close friend, who his dad had an incurable illness from when he was quite young, he'd had it for about 10 years. Very long story short, his dad was an alcoholic, his granddad was an alcoholic, so because of that, his dad decided to never drink or smoke ever, and to like treat his body as best as he possibly could. And when he was about 40, found out that he had this genetic disease that was as if he'd been smoking 50 fags a day. And had he not been as healthy as he was, he would have died a lot younger, but he suffered with us and went downhill for about 10 years. So, throughout the first two years of uni, I was with my friend through countless phone calls where he had to rush back to Ireland to say goodbye to his dad, or is this going to be the last time I see my dad? His dad died in the January. Which was absolutely heart-breaking, but I think that kind of hit a reality, made me stop spending as much time with my boyfriend, now husband Jon, and was a lot more conscious about spending time with my family. Um, particularly my dad, funnily enough how things work out, because my mum would work evenings. So, one of my sisters, the other sister moved out, so evenings, I spent a lot cuddled up watching rubbish on telly with dad. So, his dad died about six weeks before mine.

Claire: What was your dad doing job wise then?

Hannah: He was a buyer for a company that makes things, that make things, that make cars.

Chris: Yeah, that's clear.

Hannah: I think his official title was like Purchasing Manager or something, but he, he was like in charge of stock and making sure that they had everything for the factory to keep going and stuff. And he'd done that for a long time, he worked about an hour away, so he would drive an hour each way. Without skipping ahead too much, because we thought he was a bit of a loner, and that's why he very rarely like went for drinks with his colleagues and stuff, and very much kept it separate. But at his funeral, there was so many people from his work that like came and said how great he was. Um, we would occasionally be told about like pranks that they did in the office. There was one time, there was a guy in the office who was really short, I think he was like five foot two. So not like really short, but quite short.

Claire: Not like THAT short!

Hannah: Sorry Claire.

Chris: Says my five-foot wife.

Hannah: And he had a really annoying ringtone, so and he, he wouldn't put his phone on silent, so he disappeared to like the kitchen or something, and they taped his phone to the top of one of the pillars in the office. So, he couldn't see it and then just kept ringing it and he was getting annoyed that he couldn't find it. And then when he did, he couldn't even stand on a chair to get it down because it was so high up. It was things like that, that you had occasionally tell us about him messing around.

Chris: I think we've lost the art of the workplace prank. Doesn't happen as much now. Okay. Let's come back to a very difficult situation. So just in whatever words you've got, or can, just sort of paint a picture of the day that your life changed, your world changed.

Hannah: Quite ironically, the day before was my sister's birthday, which was the day that my granddad, my dad's dad died however many years before. And we spent the day with the family and then we went to Jon's family for the afternoon. I was driving Jon and back to Cheltenham, talking about how it had been, however many years since my granddad died, and we were talking about how we've never really lost anyone that close to us, and said how to lose someone, like to lose...oh gosh, I'm getting emotional... to lose a parent must be so difficult, but to do that whilst trying to keep it together for children must be really hard, and saying like, gosh, can you even imagine losing a parent and how crazy that would be? And that was, I dropped him back about half past 10 in the evening, and then little did I know within three, four hours, Dad was... gone. Gosh, I'm not even sad, I'm just emotional. I'm so sorry.

So, in order for me and my sisters and my mom to all go out for Natalie's birthday, because we have dogs that are commitment, dad opted to do the night shift so that he could be at home in the morning with the dogs, my family would get home and then he'd go to work. Was the plan. So, he worked, I think until like midnight, like quite late, because they were doing work in the factory. And then he said he was going to come home and then go back into work the next day for like 8:00 AM, something like that. So, he literally would have like six hours at home, and then go straight out. And my mum was like, don't be ridiculous, that's, you can't do that. And he, it was like, [growling noise]. He used to speak like that.

Chris: [laughs]. Wish I'd met him.

Hannah: In the morning we woke up and I went into mum's room and she said, go downstairs, I think your dad's asleep on the sofa and let the dogs out, but close the door before you let the dogs out, so they don't go in and wake them up. And dad just wasn't there. And I came back up and I was like, dad's not on the sofa. And she was like, if he's gone back to work, I'm going to be so annoyed with him. He would always get changed on the landing and leave his uniform draped over the side for like the next day, because he'd always get up and go before mum woke up. So, he'd always just leave it there. And because he was working nights, he didn't need his uniform, but he did the next day, but his uniform was still there, and we couldn't work out like, where he was, um, he was always like hot on answering his phone. Couldn't get hold of him. After like an hour or so we got more concerned, got in touch with the police to see if he'd been in an accident or anything, calling work, they didn't know where he was. As it was my mum was like, I think we all need to be together. So, me, my sister and my mum were at home anyway, my other sister was at work in Gloucester, but my mum was like, we need to all be here. Charlotte left work, and picked up my nan on the way through, and my sister literally followed the police car to my mum's house, who then told us that dad had died.

Claire: What do you remember about that point?

Hannah: It was like a film. Like, my mum just started screaming at the police officer, I remember being so embarrassed. Which is just so ridiculous, like, it's so ridiculous, but she was just like screaming at the police officers, like, you're lying, it's not true. My nan got up straight away and start cleaning the kitchen because she just needed to not be there. It was just, it was just really weird. It was just really weird. Like we were being told something, but it didn't feel like that could be right.

Claire: Do you remember where you were, where you were, where you sat down, where you stood?

Hannah: Yeah, we were all in the lounge, because even though the police like, we all came outside to meet my sister on the driveway. They'd turned up. They were like; 'Get in the house!' And we were like, mom was like; What's happened?'. And they were like; 'Go in the house!'. So, it's a very, it's just when you're trying to comprehend what someone's saying, but also just can't fathom that it's happened. It was a very strange thing. I felt like I wasn't really there. And I was just watching this happen to them, and I felt like I was just analysing the situation, being like; 'Nan, why are you cleaning in the kitchen? What are you doing?' I mean, I didn't feel like it was happening to me, I felt like it was, I was observing, it happened to someone else I think is probably the best way to explain it.

Claire: How did you find out what it was specifically that had happened?

Hannah: So, when the police came, we were told that he had been found in his car, pulled up upon the side of the road, and that they didn't know how long he'd been there. And they weren't able to save him. So, we had to go and identify his body at the hospital, and then he had to have a post-mortem to find out what it was, and to make sure it wasn't foul play, which we were really surprised at, but they have to check.

Claire: And it was something in the brain, was it?

Hannah: It's called a cerebral haemorrhage it's essentially something in the brain pops. Something that did give us some comfort afterwards was we looked at the statistics, and I'm not a doctor, so please don't quote me on this, but it was something like 50% die straight away, 30% live but have like, are able to do absolutely nothing for themselves afterwards, and they are very much paralyzed, and not able to do anything. And then 20% will live for a bit and then die after a few months. And like 1% are able to make any form of recovery, basically. So, we were glad that he didn't suffer from it and did go quickly. Um, yeah, and I think the, the doctors that we spoke to, said he would have had so little warning that it was happening, that it's amazing that he was able to pull over his car and the road that he would have been on, the speed limit was 70. So let us be honest. He was going 85. It was a quick driver. But the fact that he was able to pull over and turn off his car and not cause damage or harm to anyone else was a miracle as it was. And I think I took peace in things like that, that shouldn't have happened that ended up being better than it was. If that makes sense?



Chris: I'm wondering, so much of what you described is like seeing it through the family's eyes. So, we're sort of sharing this experience with you on behalf of the family I think, because there's obviously a very close bond with your sisters, uh, with your mum, with your dad, what, what was it like, what do you remember about those first few days or weeks? When you were alone and it was overnight, or you just had time on your own and what was the, the processing of it just for you personally away from your family.

Hannah: My processing was horrendous. I had a group meeting at uni for a module that afternoon at like three o'clock. And I, I remember so clearly, I literally put in the group chat, I'm so sorry I'm not going to make the meeting today, my dad died this morning. And I felt so bad about missing this group meeting. And it was one of those modules where you can mark people down depending on their contribution to the work. And I was like, they're gonna mark me down for this, this is going to affect my degree, this is so unfair. And they were like, obviously, because they're not horrendous people, they were like, don't be silly, it's absolutely fine, I hope you're okay. And I was like, they're gonna mark me down, which is so ridiculous. And I ended up, I think he died on Thursday, and I was back in lectures on the Monday, which on the hindsight is stupid. Like it's so ridiculous, but I just, I think I just went into like a lot of denial and just got to get on with it, got to get uni done, life doesn't stop here.

Chris: How different would it have been if you were at a university that was, you know, a good distance away from home, like two or three hours’ drive, how different might that have been?

Hannah: I probably wouldn't have gone back as soon. I kind of felt like I had no excuse not to be there. Like if I wasn't going to be there, then what else would I be doing? Whereas, if it was further away and I would've had to leave my family properly to go back, I think I wouldn't have gone back as soon.

Chris: How long do you think for you personally, not thinking about, say the rest of the family, but for you, how long do you reckon it took before you came to terms with what had happened?

Hannah: I started going to a therapist in the January after he died, or December, so nearly a year after. That helped me so much. I think even though I knew he wasn't coming back; I didn't process it. I just went, I'm getting sad about this push it away, carry on and then never took the time. I think because my mum struggled so much to start with, that we kind of all grouped around my mum and didn't necessarily give ourselves the space to process it ourselves.

Chris: I think to add to that as well, there's a double sadness there because aside from a bereavement, then just seeing a parent or a close family member, or close friend upset is upsetting for us as well. So, you are processing what happened with your dad and you are having to witness and experience your mum being devastated as well, which is hugely upsetting. So, there's two levels of, of sadness just in that one situation.

Hannah: And like, the year that he died was their 30th wedding anniversary, would have been. And they were always going to go for a safari but they agreed that they'd do the safari once we'd all moved out. Um, so instead he planned loads and loads of trips, like Chelsea Flower Show, like eight different musicals, all of these different things that they wanted us to do together. They just had something like, two, three times a month, which ended up being like really weird 'P.S. I Love You' type thing, but because we have to, we ended up like casting lots between the siblings of like, well, I want to go to Chelsea Flower Show, so you can go and see Billy Elliot. And, and even though it was a really weird, like, situation, because I was like, I've always wanted to go to Chelsea Flower Show, but it's so expensive, and then another thought I got get to go. So, what an amazing opportunity, but also, I'm with my mum who knows that I shouldn't be here and would much rather me not be here. So, all of these amazing opportunities weren't good, if that makes sense?

Claire: What I want to know is, you talked about when you're in the car with Jon talking about how awful it must be to lose a parent, how different was it from what you imagined in the car then?

Hannah: I think completely different, because I assumed I'd be losing a decrepit parent that was in their eighties, and I'd have seven kids by then, and that life would be completely different. And I think naturally when you move out of home, the relationship with your parents does completely change, so you still have that relationship of very much parent and child living at home, I think it's completely different. Like even with my sister who had moved out, a year or so before, every morning I woke up dad wasn't there, so it was a constant, like, dad's not here. Whereas for her, it would be like, oh I'm going to call dad on my way home from work, or... that kind of thing. And I just think I never expected to be so young. I know a lot of people lose them a lot younger, but the go-to is I'm going to be 50 and parents are going to be 80, that kind of thing. And I was more concerned with how I was going to tell my kids, how are we going to tell my kids that their granddad's died. It's so funny what you worry about before it's time.

Chris: You, you mentioned spending time with a therapist and that actually being quite valuable, even though that was sort of a year on after having come to terms with, with lots of this, what are like one or two of the things that you remember that were the sort of the main headlines of things that were really helpful that the therapist had suggested, or you'd worked through?

Hannah: I think the main thing that she gave me was validation of like, it's normal to feel like this, it's okay to feel like this, it's not, it's not mad to be sad after a year, like it's okay. She was just so helpful. I think the thing I mostly struggled with, I would suppress so much my emotions, which as you guys know, I'm a very emotional person. And if I haven't listens, I'm crying the whole time. I'm a very emotional person, so as I wasn't letting that out, I was... So, an example would be running up to our wedding, and Jon said he wanted his dad to be in the same suits as him and the groomsmen. And I lost it. I was like, it's however much to hire a suit, what a waste of money, how dare you waste money like that? That's ridiculous. We had one of the worst arguments we have ever had. It was really horrendous. That was one of the things I went to her with. I was like, can you believe Jon wants his dad to be in a suit? He doesn't have, why am I paying for his suit? That's ridiculous. And she was like, it's nothing to do with the suit, it's the fact that his dad's there, and yours isn’t. And I was like, oh. And I was angry that he got to be there and my dad didn’t. And I think therapist's and great, like I think I saw her for about six months, she just made my brain makes sense. She also gave me a coping method to stop myself crying when I felt like I couldn't stop, but I haven't been using that for a long time.

Claire: I was going to say, how successful was that?!

Chris: It sounds like there wasn't anybody in your life, aside from the therapist, there wasn't whether it was sisters, or close friends that were able to say the same things, unless they did say the same things, but you just didn't accept them or believe them. So just the therapist saying it's okay to feel this way, was that not something that somebody said to you in a family member or friends that you had believed?

Hannah: I think my family as a whole were quite bad at talking about it, because I think it was so raw for all of us. I can't speak for them as well, but I kind of didn't want to talk to them about it because I felt like they were in a good place right now.

Why am I going to bring them down by talking about it? Let's not burden them when they've got enough going on as is. And then with like Jon, friends, who hadn't been through anything like that. If they said anything, I was like, well you don't know, like, you don't have a clue what you're on about, why are you telling me that it's normal to feel like this, or it's good to cry, - go away! I think it would annoy me that they didn't know how I felt. Also, I didn't want to go to people who did, because I didn't want to burden them.

Claire: If someone said to you, what was the worst bit about losing your dad? Cause obviously a lot of bad stuff, is there one particular thing that was the hardest?

Hannah: I think, I wasn't a bad teenager, but I wasn't great. I was definitely like the most difficult of my siblings and I hold the title of being the only person to ever make my dad really lose his temper. He was such a chilled person; my mom would really push his buttons and he would give her nothing. He was just, walk away, doesn't matter, I'll come back when you've calmed down. I knew exactly how to wind him up and then run away. But I think, because I was always so testing of him, I think I feel guilty that, I'm a pretty, all right person now. I'm far less annoying than I used to be. I'm really proud of where I am now.

My dad was a very good saver. He used to save our money for us. I would scream and shout at him numerous times because he'd take our wages, and give us an allowance out of our wages, because he knew we'd waste a little bit and it used to kill me. And I would call him a thief. I'd say that he was stealing my money. The amount of times I screamed at him for stealing my money. And then when he died and I got access to my bank account and I was like; I have a deposit for a house here at 21, because he saved my money since I was born. Like, even £10 cheques from your auntie and uncle for your birthday, don't even think about it, it's going in savings. Like he was amazing, and I never got to thank him for doing that. I only had a go at him for doing that. And that really kills me, because he did such a good job, and I just had to go in for it.

I'd work at Tesco's, I'd get £40 a week unless I did overtime, which in the summer holidays, I would rinse over time, I was doing so many hours and I'd maybe get like £10 a week to spend. The rest would not exist. So, when my friends were like, oh, I've just bought a new handbag from River Island, I'd be like, well, I've done 45 hours this week and I've got £20.

Claire: Brilliant, I love it. What a strategy!

Hannah: It was so annoying, but the fact that I bought a house at 21 is amazing, and I a hundred percent would not have been able to do that.

Claire: Did you ever ask; Why? Why did it happen? Why me? Why now?

Hannah: I don't think I did. I think with my granddad being, he had Alzheimer's and my dad's biggest fear ever since my granddad had Alzheimer's was that he was going to have Alzheimer's and he was going to become a burden to us and not remember us. And I think that was such a fear for him, that there was always that bit of me that was thankful that he didn't go that way. I don't think I ever asked why. I don't think I ever understood why, I just didn't ask. I don't know.

Claire: Do you feel like how you look at it as changed over time? Do you look back at it differently now to, I mean, how long ago was it now?

Hannah: Five years.

Claire: So, do you look back and see it differently now to two years ago? Is it changing?

Hannah: I think it's a difficult one because even though I feel robbed of the years, I didn't have, whenever I see people suffering, I'm very thankful, that he didn't have that. To be perfectly honest, I hope I could like that one day, like, it's so much easier for the person, they wouldn't have to suffer. The family took the suffering almost, I think was a great way to go, if you can.

Chris: One of the things that we want to do with this podcast is to explore and examine whether you can find some good in every type of grief and every type of loss, if that's even possible. So, on reflection, however, big or small, what might be some of the good that you can sort of look back in those five years and think, well, this has come out of it, if there is any?

Hannah: I think I'm a lot more grateful for who I have in my life, and I try and be a lot more positive and try and see the positive in each situation. And instead of going, my dad's a horrible person because he is stealing all of my money, I can go, well he he's not stealing my money, so what is he doing, and why is he doing that? And just trying, especially with my mum, of okay, so she's doing this, why is she doing this? And trying to understand her better rather than turning to annoyance or getting annoyed. And I think also, as cliche as it sounds, we could literally die any day, we are not guaranteed to wake up tomorrow at all. Why wait to do anything? If you don't have to. I think me and Jon were so keen to get married against many people's guidance because we knew we wanted to get married and, we weren't guaranteed to live for another five years, to get married in five years’ time when we knew for definite that we were definitely going to get married. And it's just trying to make the most of the time we've got, so that... You don't want a boring funeral, do you? Where they're like; oh, you don't really do anything, or they kept saying they were going to go to Canada.

Claire: So, do you think you're a different person because of it?

Hannah: I think so.

Claire: Do you think you would have grown up to be a different person if it hadn't have happened to you?

Hannah: I think so. And I think I'm also a lot more conscious of like touching base with my family because they might not also be there, and my intention was very much to graduate and move a million miles away. Like I was looking in and my final year of Uni of going to China to teach English, and that just wasn't an option once dad wasn't around and it was just that kind of thing, where... I think I've kind of realised that I'm not the only person that matters, and that family is probably more important than I realised when I was 18, 19.

Claire: So, if you could go back and say something to yourself just before it happened or just after to help you through it, what would you say?

Hannah: I honestly don't know, be like, get a therapist earlier! I don't think there's anything to say. I had another friend who lost her dad suddenly a year after my dad died, and I kind of went through all three situations where I had someone close to me lose someone and not have a clue what to say, I had myself lose someone, not know what to say, and then I thought when my friend's dad died, a year later I was like, I'm going to be great at this. I know how you feel. You don't, there's nothing to say. I think just listening and acknowledging that it's a really horrible situation is all there is to do. And I don't think anything I could have said to myself would have made it any easier.

Chris: I've got one more question. What's your Herman? What do you think of your experience you have been able to share, can share, that's been quite healthy for others to take from and apply to their own lives in a positive way?

Hannah: I just think you can die tomorrow. Don't leave anything unsaid don't hold grudges all of that cliche stuff. Just take some appreciation for every time you open your eyes. There was a really like typical quote that I read years ago that was like, don't use your breath to complain about what you have, when someone's fighting to keep their last breath or something like that. And just trying to remain thankful for what we have, because some people would kill for what we have and in the same situation, of yes, I lost my dad at 20, but I've got friends who have never had a father figure, who have had had a dad, but not really, and even though I was young, I had a flipping good dad who would do anything for me. So, trying to remain thankful for that, rather than the years I didn't get.

Claire: Remaining thankful, living in the moment, appreciating those around you and why they might be acting like they do - such powerful lessons to learn so early in life. 

Chris: Thank you Hannah for sharing what’s still relatively fresh loss, and for inspiring us with what you have taken from your journey so far. 

Claire: Hannah’s actually added another member to her cat family and they’ve now got Miss Eric, named in memory of Jon’s grandad who recently passed away. 

Chris: Have you read Claire’s weekly blog yet? It’s based on her reflections on loss and grief and it’s on our website: thesilentwhy.com.

Claire: We felt it was only right to end today’s episode with the quote Hannah mentioned (although I couldn’t find who to attribute it to - and if you listen to my My Why episodes you’ll know that drives me up the wall!), so we’ll just say it’s Unknown for now:

 “As you waste your breath complaining about life, 
someone out there is breathing their last. 
Appreciate what you have. 
Be thankful and stop complaining.
Live more and complain less. 
Have more smiles and less stress.”