How she lived, and how she died matters...
...among so many other variables – how old you were, how old she was, whether you have siblings, whether your dad is a dud (or duddish, like mine!) or rose to the occasion in an attempt to compensate (mine didn’t, sorry, couldn’t!), what other sources of love you have in your life, the list is exhaustive ….determines the web of thoughts and feelings that spin thereafter. For me, one thread leads to another that is intersected by another, which supports the next, which leads to another, and so on. Some threads are disconnected from others, others are connected to others and flow. Threads are broken. Threads are made. And so my utterings here, are reflections of my threads. Some are silkily silver and reflect the light, others are dull or covered in shit. Regardless they all make up the web of my experience of my mother dying and being dead. The word itself is a jolt. Sorry, just keeping it real.
For me, my dear mum struggled with life, for various reasons, and so it is her life, that pains me more than her death, for her. I don’t know many in “the club” that that feel that way about their situation, but one. You?
We both found a comfortable enough space in which to part. Relationships are so freakin’ complex, I’m not sure we ever land with others where we would ideally like to, I guess we just try to get as close to the mark as we possibly can, together.
The death of my mother, left me emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally in a foreign place and time – for it was simply outside of what I ordinarily knew. Having said that, the grief not completely unchartered territory, for I had lost someone I loved before. But again, how they lived, and how they died, and who they are to you, matters.
It has been 22 years now, and life without her has become my new normal.
I have forgotten how she had her coffee, but I remember the freckle on the end of her nose. I have forgotten so many details, but I remember and still feel her love.
My ongoing love for her is both within me and seeps out of me to her and for her when I think of her. I wonder if she receives it. Sometimes it feels like I have written a very important letter, and posted it with the wrong address. It’s unlikely it will ever get to its intended destination (my mother’s consciousness in the afterlife – a bit North Polish – a la Father Christmas, as she called him!), but there’s a chance. That chance is faith.
Grief is not linear, it doesn’t reduce with time. “Time heals”….BULL – SHIT !!!! Rather, it is like vertical coil or a slinky sitting on its base. If utter happiness and joy is the top orbit and utter despair and hopelessness is the bottom orbit with several orbits in between – your grief will move up, down and around the slinky for the rest of your life, depending on the triggers that present. You can’t function for very long on the bottom orbit, and so it is, that your inner and external resources will help you lift for a time, so as to function and survive. I hope for your sake (which is what she would want) that you spiral as high up the slinky as you can go at any given time.
Mums just want their children to be happy. Dig deep. Ask for help. Do what feels good and surround yourself with positive influences. There’s gotta be inner strength and resources to get through this doesn’t there? Scientifically speaking I mean. For most offspring lose their parents to death – across the animal kingdom – surely we were given something in our DNA? Remember your five senses help you get there. Good tastes, touches, sounds, smells and sights. Get out into nature – like your mother, Mother Nature knows how to soothe.
The ‘doing’ (ordering chicken sandwiches and sausage rolls for the funeral) is relatively easy. It’s the ‘being’ with the raw truth that is hard. It hurts. Make friends with the monster under the bed. Shine a light in its face. Hold its hand. For if you don’t, it will catch up with you on its terms, not yours. When you are face to face, there is nothing more to fear. It’s as bad as it gets.
Humans are adaptive and things will look and feel different, better, before long. How is this so when seemingly the only solution to this problem is for her to come back to you? I don’t know, but the universal magic is woven and the darkness lifts and we somehow march on.
Love knows neither space nor time. My 16 year old daughter is at work today 3kms away from me. I can't see or touch her. Does that mean our love is gone? Of course not. Where your dear mum is, and where you are in both time and space is irrelevant. Love is.
Try and forgive those who are inadequate in their support of you. I think all people do their best in responding to others’ grief – even if their best is seemingly nothing. They just don’t know yet. They are not a member yet. But chances are they will be one day. Be there for them when they become a member. They will be there for those who come after them.
Losing your mum isn't just about losing and missing her, so brace yourself. Other relationships and roles within the family shift, and so you lose the way things were when she was here. Some family members may lift (I dearly hope this is the case with you), but in my experience and unexpectedly their character flaws became magnified, and unfavourable qualities presented - greed, personality disorders like narcissism, selfishness, lack of empathy, egocentrism, shortsightedness, emotional retardation. Does the word 'arsehole' ring true here for you too?! To own some of it, our need (probably at the core of it - for love) becomes greater, 'cause we have seemingly lost the longest standing, unconditional, most reliable and infinite source of it. So, the resultant equation looks something like this: Surrounded by fucked people + my greater need for love + my expectation that those left behind would lift for me = more loss, hurt, pain, anger and resentment. Take charge and rewrite the equation. Lower your expectations, remember that love knows neither space nor time and continue to give your mum love and receive it from her, and surround yourself with 'good' family only and/or your chosen family - your friends (and perhaps even strangers, like the authors of these letters).
As if your own grief isn’t enough to process, I can only imagine that as possibly a mother/father yourself, your father’s daughter/son (if he is ‘present’ in every sense of the word) and a sister/brother that there is a risk of taking on the grief of others too. If I may gently encourage you to stay mindful and only hold what is yours, for they have their own grief covered. Comfort of course is different, but their grief is their own.
I hope and trust that your beliefs in the workings of the universe and its spiritual machinations are helping you through, for in this world, anything is possible. For what it is worth, I believe she hears and sees all (well, almost all – look away Mum!). Like a little bird on your shoulder chirping away, she will be whispering. Be still and quiet and you will hear her. Talk to her too and let her know you know she is there.
“Oh for the touch of a vanished hand, and for the sound of a voice that is still”.
All my love, peace and light.