It’s almost eight years since my mum died, and there isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about her though the pain is not as acute, not quite as raw.
This article may trigger memories and stir emotions for some, and this might not be the right time to read it. And I’m sorry if this in any way adds to your pain, that is not my intention, but I wanted to write about how I felt at the time and how I still feel today. So, here are my lessons:
Life is strong; it wants to live and will keep going for as long as it possibly can. Life will fight, will not give in until it has no other choice. Unlike the famous piece of writing advice from David Mamet, life will not leave the party early. Things are only truly over when, to coin a ubiquitous phrase, the fat lady sings.
This next point might be a bit close to the bone.
Death, the final moment is not so bad. There were no heroics, no last-minute gasps, mum just stopped. She took her last breath, and that was that. I observed that if you can manage those final moments with no pain, no fear and no isolation, then you are not doing too badly. We were lucky, with the support from our local hospice, everything was in place. We had the basics covered, which made the end so much and here I am struggling to find the right word, easier, peaceful.
But the biggest lesson I learned is that life goes on. Sounds trite, I know but almost eight years on that is precisely, what’s happened. Life has continued. Slowly and inexorably it moves on. We still gather as a family to celebrate mums’ birthday. We’ve made trips to Jamaica, to the land of her birth to visit, aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends, all of whom brought her back to us again.
On the anniversary of her death, there is always a flurry of scratch cards between us; mum was eternally optimistic about her scratch cards. But there are no calls, the three of us, her daughters were all present on that day, no need to do that again.
And after almost eight years, I’ve seen that mum still lives in her children, her grandchildren, her family and her friends.
I have her laugh; all of us have her slightly wicked sense of humour and her words still come to me when I need to hear them.
In all sorts of ways, mum is still very much with us.
So, there you have it.
Until next time.