I often wonder if Mum felt the way I did when Grandma died. I mean, I was there, and she was obviously devastated, but Mum picked herself up and soldiered on so much better than I have in losing a Mum. Maybe because we knew it was coming. Grandma was old and infirm. We’d seen her decline. And she had lived a full, wonderful and interesting life.
I lost Mum while she was still in the middle of things. She had so many unfinished plans. Her death was quick, sudden and final. One breath we were laughing, making plans for the future, complaining about our day. And the next. Gone.
It’s been years, and still, every day I miss her. Most of the time I can’t hold back the emotion and a few tears escape. These feelings have me watching other people who have lost someone close to them. They all seem to have it so much more together than I do. Better at being an adult.
Maybe I feel things more deeply than your average person? I hope that’s it.
Filling my life with purpose and love has helped dull the sting of grief. I cherish my friends, and tell them so. I hug my family. I spoil my dog. Each day I set myself little goals to achieve. I live life. Fill it with fun positive experiences. And it helps.
There are still those moments when something great happens and I want to share it with Mum. We always used to phone each other to share our news. We lived in different states, so picking up the phone was how we kept in touch. At least twice a week. Sometimes twice a day.
But now I whisper it in my mind and send it to her on the breeze. I like to imagine her close to me. Watching my life and appreciating the one-way conversations. The updates. The silent tributes.
Grief and loss is a funny thing. A personal thing. I’m actually horrified for those with large families now. It was just me, Mum, Dad and my brother. Dad left in my teens with my brother, so Mum was really all I had. When she passed, half my life went with her. I can’t imagine living through that experience again and again. Extended families and many siblings – all that potential for love and loss. So beautifully tragic.
I can’t think like that. But I do at times. It’s always there in the back of my mind. It’s hard to let people get close to you when you’re scared of the feelings that will come flooding in when they’re gone. I guess it’s like becoming gun-shy for relationships when you’ve suffered through an ugly breakup. You want to protect your heart, but it can’t work properly if you don’t take a risk.
Life is marvelous, ugly, euphoric, and crippling. I savour every day. Breathe in every minute and am thankful for every second. Every person I meet. Life is a strange beast upon which I ride to an unknown destination. I just hope the ride is long. The scenery vast and beautiful. Filled with more love and less grief.
If anything, apart from the experience of life, it has given me tools and character motivations for my writing. I remember reading about a character who had lost someone close to them, and I don’t think I fully grasped the gravity of the words until I had my own experience. All those feelings of hopelessness, being alone, feeling lost, crushed by grief… they are all hard and dark but help juxtapose the love, light and positive experiences we also have. It has supplied me with so much more context and colour for writing.
I may have lost a little innocence, but I have gained so much more depth.
So, while I will go on missing my Mum every day, I am greatful for her part in turning me into the person I am today, for showing me love, and being my inspiration in life and writing.
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