The peculiar thing about death is that the world goes on around you, as if nothing has happened. You feel like you’re dying inside, like a part of your heart has just been taken. Yet the world around you goes buzzing along as if nothing has changed.
My sister and I often talk about living without mum. Since losing our mum in 2015, we’ve had quite a period of adjustment. We each used to talk to mum at least once or twice a week, but it wasn’t uncommon to talk to her for 4, 5, 6 days in a row and or for 3+ hours at a time. We were close. Very close. And the day we discovered conference call (where we could all talk together) was a pretty happy day!
Sitting here, watching cockatoos fly past in mobs, my dog at my feet and hearing the sounds of my husband and child chat happily, one could be forgiven for thinking today was just a normal, lovely Sunday morning at home. But today isn’t just any day. Today is my mother’s 2 year anniversary.
It has been 1 year, 5 months, 9 days and 16 hours since you died. And I’m still waiting for it to get easier, for the grief to ease. Today is your brother’s anniversary and the pain I feel for my aunty and cousins is just about unbearable. Because I know they still feel like I do and have for 5 years. They’re still waiting for it to get easier.
It feels like just yesterday that you were driving me to dance classes then going for a walk along the beach with your friends while you waited.
It feels like just yesterday that you were talking to me about the bullies giving me a hard time at high school.
It occurred to me quite promptly recently that even though I have lost my mother to cancer at a relatively young age, I still consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. It may be the perspective my mum taught me – to always remember what you have, rather than what you don’t, but I feel blessed that she was such an amazing person and I was lucky enough to be her daughter.
Although grieving is not a ‘job’, I’m reminded today of what my mother used to say about parenting. She would often remark that the hardest job you’ll ever have is to raise a child – and they don’t come with a manual. I’m reminded of this because, in the midst of my grief, I feel helpless. And in a lot of ways it’s similar to becoming a parent.
It has been a horrible week. Strangely normal, eerily ‘back-to-the-grind’ but overall horrible. Yesterday marked 4 weeks since my mum passed. It marked 4 weeks and 3 days since I last spoke to her. It marked a whole heap of new levels of missing someone. It also marked the first true realisation that I was never going to be able to pick up the phone and ask her for advice. Then I heard someone talking to their mum on the phone. It was meaningless, it was simple, it was brief, but it was enough.
I write this with a heavy heart as I begin to process the loss of my mother. My blog posts to date have largely been about my battle with my skin, which, to be completely honest, always felt like it paled in comparison to what my mum was going through. But she was the first one to tell me that wasn’t true. That each challenge in your life is an experience to get through, no matter how small. And that each challenge has it’s silver lining.