This is the first non-scheduled post I have written in many weeks.
All the posts you have been seeing popping up on my blog, are things that I wrote a while back and then had them on a gradual release (another reason I love WordPress as a blogging platform).
There is a reason for my prolonged absence though, which I’m going to share a bit.
On 5th February 2015, I lost my Mum.
People say that, don’t they, strangers or even people you know and it falls dud and quiet at your feet. It’s not your loss and therefore, not your problem. You don’t know what to say, because you don’t feel anything. I’m not saying you don’t feel empathy or sympathy – but you have no comprehension of the raging, murderous storm screaming on inside the person who quietly whispered: “My Mum’s died”.
Perhaps you can understand because you have lost a parent – but even if you have been there, your mind has probably placed a large, thick wall between your recollection and the initial feelings you felt when they passed. The incomprehension, stark, bleak horror… your mind would collapse in on itself if you did remember and relive it constantly.
I didn’t get on with my Mum. She was a lost, broken and unhappy soul. She was not living the life she was capable of living or wanted to live.
There are no fluffy, cuddly, sweet and lovey-dovey memories to comfort me – I have many years of anguish and pain to tuck me up in bed each night.
But she was my Mum and I loved her. I was bonded to her in a way I cannot understand, until I look into the eyes of my own precious, beautiful children.
There are bits of her I remember, like shards of glass from a broken mirror. She had very long fingers, artist’s hands she would say.
She was loud and quiet in all the wrong ways and in all the wrong places. She was gorgeous and distant, like any star or planet in the heavens.
She was hiding and frightened, yet brave and tenacious.
She was mine.
I missed her more when she was alive, because I never got to include her in my life in the way I desperately wanted to. I wanted her to be the first person I told each time I fell pregnant. I wanted to see her fuss and fawn over me as I stepped into my wedding dress, dabbing at tears of joy, the morning I married. I wanted her holding my hand as I gave birth, telling me that it was all going to be ok.
I wanted her arms round me when my eldest two children passed away.
I wanted to sob in my Mum’s arms as we laid them to rest.
I wanted to have a cup of tea with her and talk about wall paper and the price of biscuits and other mundane things.
I wanted to phone her for advice or gossip, just as an excuse to hear her voice.
I wanted her to tell me that my top was too low, my skirt too short or that my hair was dumb.
I wanted to talk to her about heartache. I wanted to tell her as each year of my life passed, that I understood her more and empathised. I started, bit by bit, to see the world as she did and understand her frustration, exhaustion and downright misery of everyday life. I wanted to share the joys, highs and triumphs. I wanted to show her my world. I wanted to fling open the shuttered windows that looked onto the valley of my life and point out every last bit of it and remark to her about how proud (or not so proud) I was of each little hedge or winding river.
I wanted to use the word ‘Mum’ every day. I wanted to use the word ‘Mum’ in reference to her, instead of her first name.
I wanted her to put her long, cool fingers to my temple if I felt unwell and frown if she thought I was over-doing it a tad.
I wanted to hear the sound of her voice as she fought my corner and defended me, even if she knew I was wrong. I wanted her to be my champion and my protector.
I wanted… so much. Too much.
I just wanted her to be my Mum. How was that too much to ask of her? Was I asking for the moon and stars? Perhaps.
I got what she was capable of giving me, which essentially looks like a rubbish pile – but if you sift through it, you can find beautiful nuggets of treasure.
Those rare, special little things, are what I cleave to me now.
I held her hand as she lay dying at the age of 58 years old. My tears were hot and alive with anger, horror, sorrow and agony. I cried for hours and hours and hours. I’d forgotten I could cry so hard for so long.
She is now with her Mum and Dad and I know that she is happy at last. The wearying world has let go of her now and she is free – she can go where she wants and see what she likes – she is emancipated for all eternity.
She went through cycles – she loved you, then hated you, then loved you again. When she died, she was in the ‘hate everyone’ stage.
Funny though – because at her funeral, pretty much everyone there had had their issues one way or another with my Mum – yet they were all there for her (and many have been before and since)… because they loved her.
As I kept telling her as she lay in that clinical, clean hospital bed in intensive care: You have no idea how loved you are.
How loved by me she was and always will be.
Whatever she was in life, whatever her memory will turn into in death, she was and is loved by me. She will always be mine.
Do not judge her by what she failed to do. She did the best job she was able to do within the pitch darkness and fog of her world.
I love her and although I resonate with ringing pain and anguish, that fact remains.
My greatest grief will always be the knowledge, that she was never able to see any of it.
In loving Memory of Janet Catherine
1957 – 2015
In the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here.