It is an odd day today.
On the one hand, it is my Dad’s birthday. On the other, it is the first anniversary of when my mother died.
She passed at about 12pm on a cold and overcast Thursday afternoon at Whiston Hospital in St Helens.
She was just 58 years and one month old.
I was bone tired. Tired from crying constantly and sleep deprivation. Grief and lack of sleep is a terrible combination, one that the human body regardless of fitness level is going to struggle with. Add into that mix the fact that my husband had broken his leg the day before my mother died and I was beyond desolate and distraught. I had to leave my mothers side, 2 hours or so before she passed away, to return home to look after my children.
I was in no fit state to look after myself, let alone my kids and I just don’t know how I coped.
I remember just sitting there on the living room floor, in the darkness of that bleak night, wondering what the hell I was going to do and how I was going to get through this.
My children were safely snuggled up in their beds, worried about daddy being in hospital with a sore leg. Me? I just disintegrated. I could not believe that so much shit had been flung at me that week.
I think I got to the point where I didn’t have any tears left to cry. I think I knew I really wasn’t much comfort for my injured husband as I really needed looking after too and there wasn’t anyone there.
The kids were my priority, of course. They didn’t understand or know what was occurring with me. You learn how to plaster on an ‘ok’ demeanour complete with phony smile when it comes to your kids – they are the priority. They were the two beams of light in that dark time and I worshipped, loved and protected them accordingly.
But when they were in bed, that was when I could allow myself to give in and fall apart.
I slept fitfully and dreamlessly, expecting the spectre of my mother to appear in a more scarier capacity than it actually did.
Grief is not the same for each person or each type of loss. Losing my children in 2007 was absolutely the worse pain I have ever endured in my life. A grief that snatches at your heart with tearing, greedy claws feels unsurvivable. I would much rather deal with physical pain than mental pain. Mental pain is a torture beyond the scope of human endurance at times.
I eventually ended up in the duel-emotional state of sadness and anger. I was bloody cross with her dying – because dying also killed any hope I had that she would sort herself out, turn herself around and be part of my life again. With her untimely and sudden end, that door was shut, bricked up and buried in soft peat. There was no hope that she would be free of the fog that lived inside her all those years.
I do take comfort in knowing that she is now actually free of whatever tortured her or made her unhappy. So many things did. She is with my grandparents and now able to see with the clarity she never had in life. She has been released from the prison of herself and I am pleased for that.
I picture her now, dressed in white, which is what she wore most of the time when I was little. She’s wearing white stiletto’s and has her hair all thick, healthy and flowing. I picture the sun setting around her, a warm, orangey glow caressing her face as it sinks and fades in the sky. I see her smile, always smiling now. That is where she is. Somewhere beautiful, warm, bright and wonderful. Somewhere she can think straight and finally be whatever she had ever wanted to have been in life.
I know her parents are with her – heartbroken that she has joined them far too soon, but relieved that she is not suffering or alone or lost. They can care for her and love her and nurture her. That is what she wanted and needed for so long and I think that is what they are going to be giving her again.
Sorry – this is a self-reflective post that has meandered. I think I just dumped my digits on the keyboard and told them to just go for it.
Rest in the peace and light of heaven, in the love and gentleness of your parents, Mum.