Two Years On

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write anything to mark this occasion. To be honest, last week I hadn’t really realised the time of year it was and what that meant. Tuesday 3rd March 2020 marked two years since my Mum passed away. I had been thinking about what I could write but had scheduled the posts recounting the service from Mum’s funeral, and I chose to publish Mum’s own final words to mark the two-year anniversary of her death. I felt that Tuesday was ‘her day’ more than mine.

The two years since she’s passed away have been a rollercoaster. I’ve learnt things, experienced things, taken myself places, and I’ve been able to recognise Mum in myself. I’ve had incredible moments and I’ve had shit moments. Both being things I needed my Mum there for, to cheer me on when it was going well, and to hold my hand when it wasn’t going so well. I guess I’ll start with the bad stuff?

She died. That was bad. The physical and emotional embodiment of my Mum doesn’t exist anymore. The one person I desperately needed by my side to help me through it was the only person who I would never see again. Arranging her funeral was hard. Notifying people that she had died and with details of her funeral was hard. Assisting my also grieving Grandmother with the legal, bureaucratic, emotionless processes of registering the death, cancelling various contracts, and applying for probate proceedings was hard. Wanting to be able to move out of the house that Mum died in, walking past her empty bedroom every day and not being able to forget the image of her emaciated body lying on the bed is hard. Not being able to properly start a life with Sam where the place is ours and we can do what we want with it is hard (fortunately we’re moving soon). Having to involve and keep other family members happy with our plans and future (when Mum’s house is sold, the ‘profit’ is to be split 3 ways) whilst also grieving the loss is hard. Knowing that she would never be there to see or celebrate my accomplishments, she’d never see my own house, she’d never come to my wedding, meet her grandchildren, go on holiday with me again. These things aren’t just hard, they are utterly heartbreaking. There’s more little every day things that get to me.

The good stuff! I got a promotion at work! Sam finished his degree and graduated. Sam and I went to Paris for New Year’s Eve 2018/19. I finished the first part of my university studies, got a foundation degree and I graduated! Sam and I went on our first proper holiday together. I’ve been on exciting and worthwhile training courses which have helped me shape what I want to do with my life. I’ve delivered presentations and training courses at work for both colleagues and parents. In nine weeks, I trained myself from zero physical fitness to running 5K in 28 minutes and raised £1500 for Cancer Research UK. I installed a new smoke alarm by myself. I threw a surprise birthday party for my Nan’s 80th birthday and invited twenty two people without her knowing! I have had the chance to reconnect with my Dad and step Mum. I’ve memorised the secret route from Dorset to London that doesn’t involve any motorway. I have read Michelle Obama’s autobiography. I’ve connected with other people who have had the short straw given to them and lost someone really important. I’ve started a website! My Mum’s spirit and sense of direction have been embedded in me throughout all of these things. Of course I will always, always wish that she were there to see them, to experience and share them me, but c’est la vie.

I had never thought that the loss of a parent would be both shattering and empowering. I am full of sorrow and pain that I have lost the guiding and accepting presence that comes from a mother, but I can see so much of her reflected in me. I know that it will be daunting and challenging to navigate moving house, settling down, having a family, and just live life without my Mum there, but I also know that she equipped me with enough intelligence and experience to be able to approach it. Thanks, Mum.

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