I know I have posted this photo before but it is the photo on my iPad that I look at a hundred times every day, so thatâ€™s why I feel like I want to post it again.
I have been sitting rereading my posts of the last few years – grief, death, love. And reflecting on the past year, in particular, as we approach the first anniversary of Mumâ€™s death. Some people dont think about dates or marking anniversaries, but it seems to be something deep within me. Itâ€™s not something that I necessarily do consciously. I just find that my mind has often been cast back over the past couple of weeks, to this time last year, and reliving those last few weekâ€™s of mumâ€™s life.
So this weekend I have been thinking about this weekend last year, when we realised that it was now a question of days not weeks, and that Mum did not have long left to live. The agonising feeling that you didnâ€™t know when she was going to die – it could be any time. Every time I left her house, I wondered if that was going to be the last time I would see her alive. Had I said everything to her that I wanted to? Had the children said their goodbyes? As she became more sleepy in that week and started to slip away, it was hard to watch and witness other peopleâ€™s pain and try to hold them as well as holding myself together.
In the end of course, Mum slipped into unconsciousness a few days before she died and I remember her penultimate day being a happy one. For some reason a peace and calm surrounded her and her room and I even remember playing some of her favourite music including a bit of Nina Simoneâ€™s â€˜my baby just cares for meâ€™ and dancing round the room and singing – she would have loved that, and I hope somewhere deep down she heard me and smiled within.
Rereading my posts, I have taken comfort from realising that its true what I wrote just over a year ago, that she would be with me always, and smiling down on me, helping me with the tough decisions, that life inevitably throws at one.
And its true what they say that it just takes time, time for grief to ease, never fully go away I dont think. Certainly at the beginning of this year, I turned a big corner. I had a distinct feeling of Mum looking down on me and saying, ok, time to let go now, time to move on, a new year, a fresh start. She said, Iâ€™m ok, Iâ€™m whole again, you need to focus on your life now. So thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve been doing.
But everybody says its the first of everything after a person dies, that is the hardest. My birthday last year was particularly hard, as she would have been the first person to ring and wish me a happy birthday. Then there was Christmas, but actually, Mumâ€™s birthday, which was last month, was a happy occasion, marked with a lunch with Emma, at Mumâ€™s favourite restaurant in Winchester.
I think that with each of these occasions, the anticipation has been worse than the reality and so that is what I keep reminding myself as we approach next Saturday, the first anniversary of her leaving this world.
So one year on, the grief has not completely gone, but since the beginning of the year, it has no longer been overwhelming, and mostly when I think of Mum, its with a smile and a feeling of warm shining love. Itâ€™s just now with the first anniversary looming, that I cant help but focus on the loss of her.
But I am happy to report that I have kept my promise to Mum – I think about her everyday and she is certainly forever in my heart 💜💜