Today marks 20 years since the death of my mother.
Those words sound so normal, so every day, so ordinary, but to me they are tip of the emotional iceberg surrounding sudden loss of my mum. Like an iceberg most of what happened is buried, buried beneath an ocean of pain, tears and sorrow.
Why was it buried?
Is it because it happened so quickly? Because no one was expecting it? Because of the obvious loss of a wife, mother, grandmother, auntie, cousin, friend? Or is it because that’s what you have to do to get through the immediate aftermath…….?
At the time, we dealt with it as all families deal with a sudden loss, the funeral was arranged, the hymns selected, the eulogy written, the long and winding trip to the crematorium organised, cars booked and funeral clothes selected. The wake was arranged, sandwiches buttered, the teapots borrowed, the team of people with kettles to come and supply a never ending required cups of tea and sympathy.
And as all families do, we got on with our own lives, some frantically, others quietly, all individually trying to work out how to function in a world without her.
We all loved her of course but in totally different ways. A husband had to learn how to sort out his world without her, a son howled at the moon and then silently grieved her passing. As for her daughters, after the tears and hugs subsided, we were dragged out of our grief somehow by our children and husbands, families of our own.
She missed so much
She missed new grandchildren, new houses, for some of us, new husbands but most of all, she’s missed so much happiness in our lives. She would have loved it all and every time there’s an ‘occasion’, we know that she’s there, in the background, watching it all.
Life carries on inevitably with a piece missing from the jigsaw. They say that grief never leaves you but it is so surprising how soon the world re-forms after somebody disappears. It carries on and carries on, with barely a mark to show they were ever here.
But that mark is left within your memory, you can see and feel it everywhere; like a scratch on the table, like a chalked line on a playground floor, like a wisp of cloud in an otherwise blue sky.
So 20 years later, how are we?
We’re all doing ok (I think anyway), the years have gone by so very quickly and because of that, it’s surprising in some ways how present she felt this weekend and as a result, how keenly her loss was felt. But it was a heartfelt reminder of a love lost and how we must cherish all those who are still with us.
Blessings to you all ❤️