Grief: Deep sorrow / Suffer a disaster. Just another harmless word in the dictionary, hanging out with all the others in their neat rows, printed boldly on fresh paper, or innocently popping up on your device when you query their meaning, or if you have in fact spelt it the correct way. Some, you never really give much heed to, unless you experience one of them first hand. Like; Constipation: To be Constipated : Unable to empty the bowels easily or regularly. And to be constipated whilst pregnant. They need another definition for that also. Like brick layer!
Back to my new companion at this stage of my life. Grief. Dealing with the death of a loved one, whether animal or human is truly heartbreaking, to the point of some days questioning ‘what is life really all about?’ For me, death and the grieving process are one of the strangest, most puzzling and frustrating things I have dealt with for quite some time. (And considering I have an identical twin, a husband of 23 years, a fifteen year old son who suffers anxiety and a 12 year old son going on 21, this says quite a lot!)
I witnessed my beautiful Mother, Lynette Martin, pass away Boxing Day morning, 2016, unexpectedly and although her passing seemed eerily gentle, for me and my family, was understandably, tragic. Recalling her passing, sends shivers of despair within me, and I can almost feel my own heart stop beating with the heaviness of such sorrow. Such devastating loss. Some days I can hardly breathe, and other days, I don’t want to. But that’s not reality, is it?
Before Mum’s passing, I could do any task quickly, be organised and productive, and smile even when I didn’t feel like it. After Mum, not so much. I head off in one direction, get there and don’t know what I’m doing there in the first place! Days rolling into the next in a haze after too many sleepless nights. Nights where I’d fall asleep from exhaustion and thoughts of lost moments, hours of crying, even when I thought I was all cried out, only to wake an hour later, feeling full of guilt. How dare I rest and escape my pain, when my beautiful mother is no longer in this world! More guilt, as the thought that I couldn’t spoil her for her next birthday, or do anything more for her. And even though I did love so deeply, and did all I could as a daughter….the guilt continued to pummel me. ‘It wasn’t enough….you should have done more!’ On and on. I’d forget that I had a family to feed, as my interest in food was nil. (Thank the stars for an amazing husband that simply took over everything and all as my usual happy little self shutdown!)
Now, here I am, seven weeks on and I can walk past one of the many photo’s I have of Mum around my home and smile, and think of the moment it was taken and all the fun we used to have together, and sweet mischief we did create! I can recall her voice saying one of her usual comments and feel so proud of the woman she was. How blessed was I to have her for my mother.
I used to love ringing her for advice on words, as she was a pro at crossword puzzles, and always had her dictionary on stand by. I will now cherish the conversations we had, and fondly recall many moments, sharing pieces of my writing from The Given, Dark Angel and The Guardian, hearing her thoughts, loving when she cringed, (my favourite reaction!) and crying with her when she cried, as I’d read sections of my son’s Biography, Thirteen and Underwater.
Why did I head this, Life after Death? Because life goes on.With our hearts broken for the loss of a loved one, the loss of more time with them, to tell them, ‘I love you, thank you.’ To hold them and take their scent into your memory one last time. So yes, although I still feel shattered, and have moments where I still can’t believe she is really gone. That in this life, I will never be able to laugh with her, share a burden, chat about family members or grab an old family recipe, get advice and share all the milestones of my children. Although there’s all of that, I still have half of her in me. I have a lifetime of memories. I have my family and friends that loved her dearly also, and together, sharing memories and stories puts her right here beside us once more, if only for that moment. It is a moment that brings a peaceful smile.
Life goes on. Life is short. Yes, life is hard but it is also beautiful. With all the mayhem and unknown in this world we live in today, one thing is certain. We are blessed to love and be loved.