I wasn’t sure whether to write this post . I fear I’m just going over the same old ground, repeating myself … but then that’s grief for you. You are constantly reliving moments , remembering and dealing with them. How you felt at the time. How you feel now. I guess that’s what it will be like forever … only maybe [ and hopefully] not so raw?
Firstly there is nothing pretty about death. It is what it is …
Death is an all-consuming sadness , it’s dark and it’s morbid. It’s feeling constantly sick and not being able to catch your breath. Death is final.
Our memories however… they don’t have to be. Our memories can be whatever we want them to be – fluffy, bright pink and vibrant just-like the person whose passed .
How’s that saying go…. “there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel”. I figure I’m still in my tunnel , bumbling around in the dark. Somewhere in the middle, scrapping away and searching for answers. I occasionally catch glimpses but mostly I’m still in darkness grabbing the light where I can.
On July 10th it will be a year … 365 days … 52 weeks … since we lost my mum. Vicious, beautiful, full of life. She was 72 and taken far too early .
Cancer is one cruel bastard.
Right up until the end she was so graceful and dignified, so appreciative to everyone that came to see her. Even in palliative care when she was bed-bound and so very ill she had me paint her nails bright pink. She would apply her lipstick and ensure her hair was brushed and in place. She looked forward to her daily treat ; a Portuguese tart and cup of tea brought to her by my BF Michael . She didn’t eat much in the final weeks but she always had room for a tart, Michael and Wimbledon.
She absolutely loved the tennis. It will be strange this year watching it without her. I think [ where possible ] we’ve watched it together for as long as I can remember. Everything at the moment is a constant reminder of what we’ve lost and what mum will never get to enjoy again.
Mum was staring death right in the face but found a strength I still find hard to comprehend. That was my mum all over and one of the reasons she was loved so very much …
So a year on what’s changed apart from the obvious fact that my mum is no longer around?
Nothing and everything.
Life carries on. It is a series of events that comes and tests us, shapes who we are. Some good, some bad, some life-changing.It’s not been an easy year but somehow we’ve bumbled through the unknown. The unthinkable a life without mum
Me. I’ve changed .
To look at I’m the same person. Geeky slightly awkward looking with a messy bob and full on eye-makeup [at all times!]
But when I look in the mirror I see a sadness in my eyes that wasn’t there before. I see someone whose lost a massive part of their life and is looking for the answers. Anxiety creeps up and sends me into panic over the most trivial of things. I see a daughter who misses her mum, one who constantly worries about her dad and her baby brother. Who often cries herself to sleep, wakes up, slaps on her makeup and faces the day with a smile. Tougher around the edges maybe but also a little more empathetic.
I also see a determination , an inner strength [ just like my mum’s ] that I didn’t know I possessed. I honestly didn’t think I would have been able to cope without my mum and my best friend. I’ve visited dark places, felt my lowest and I’ve hurt like I didn’t know I could.
We’ve changed as a family.
Mum was our glue, the one who held us all together. At times during the past year it’s felt like we’d completely fallen apart . We have wobbled, but somehow , with the help of good people around us and a gritty determination we’ve managed to remain up-right. Remember those toys – weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. That’s us. Just like elastic we’ve sprung back together. Tighter than ever maybe.
I am closer than ever to my Dad. He has in part become both my parents. We go out for breakfast on Sundays every-now and again. Just the 2 of us to the local Garden Centre.
At first it was strange, it felt alien … maybe even a little forced on both our parts . Dads not my mum and I shouldn’t expect him to be, just as I’m his daughter and not his wife. Over the months we’ve found our happy medium and I look forward to our ‘Full English’ and a catch up.
It’s different but its nice. I say things like “Dad do you think people will think I’m your young fancy bit” … and Dad says ‘Tracey what a thing to say ?” Forever speaking out a loud what’s going off in my head, making Dad smile. Mum would love that …
They say times a healer. I’m not so sure I believe that . I’ll never really get over losing my mum I’m just reluctantly getting used to it . Life goes on and so do you . Big fat cliché right there but I guess it’s true.
Some things are taken out of our hands no matter how much we pray , no matter how much we wish the outcome had been different.
One year on …honestly ? … it could be one week . The pains still very much there. The only difference; I’m starting to look forward again, to plan and to dream . My mum might not be physically by my side but I know she walks with me everyday and she’ll always, always be in my heart.
Mollie our chocolate Labrador often comes running up to me with white feathers stuck to the end of her nose. I like to believe they are a sign ; that they’ve been sent from heaven, from mum . I also like to believe she comes to me when I’m sleeping . My dreams are so vivid it’s as though we are in each other’s company again. Sometimes I wake up crying, sometimes I remember conversations. They are so real I momentarily forget she is no longer here.
For the first few weeks after we had lost mum I was convinced she was communicating to me though a lightbulb . I’d get into the bath and the bulb that never lit up would come on. As soon as I got out it would turn off again.
I know I sound crazy but it was very early days. I was grabbing at anything and everything, trying to make a sense of my loss. It brought me a strange sense of comfort.
Saying that if anybody was going to communicate through a lightbulb it’d be my mum. Unpredictable at the best of times!
So as we hit another milestone, another first… I’m choosing vibrant pink. Mum was vibrant and pink was one of her favourite colours.
I’m choosing to be the strong, successful woman mum always told me I was. To make her proud.
To be ‘ fabulous, just fabulous Tracey‘
Don’t get me wrong it won’t be plain sailing. I’m sure they’ll be lots more tears, lots more dark moments. I’ll just keep walking my tunnel heading for the light