Sorry I’ve been less active the past few days, I’ve had job interviews, visited family, and it’s been Sam’s birthday too! I wanted to write something about being and feeling motherless, especially with Mothers’ Day on the horizon.
Mothers’ Day was just eight days after my Mum passed away and the day after Sam’s birthday in 2018. I was meant to be seeing my Nanny but I just couldn’t face it. Sam and I had spent the night in Brighton for his birthday, and I spent all of Mothers’ Day in bed. I felt shit – and it wasn’t because of the vodka slushies Sam and I’d had the night before. There I was, 23 years old, eight days after Mum’s death and in the undesirable limbo of celebration, obscured by the desperation of grief. Fun!
I loved being able to spoil my Mum – I would do whenever I could, but Mothers’ Day was one of those celebrations which I loved to spend with Mum because of what it meant to her. I remember one year I bought Mum two pairs of earrings, a bottle of perfume, a new mini set of pots and pans (BHS had an offer on – 3 Tefal saucepans and 2 frying pans for £40, get in my basket!), and I took her out for lunch. I told the girls at work – as you do – people were shocked at how much I was willing to spend on my Mum. That always surprises me because I’m like…she’s my Mum?! Her body created and carried me, her love and support kept me safe and healthy, her hands held me when I was sad and lifted me higher when I was happy. She’s spent £10s if not £100s of thousands on me throughout my life. Why wouldn’t I want her to have the perfect non-stick pancakes and a nice pair of earrings?!
I’ve followed loads of grief accounts, read books, met other people who’ve lost their Mum, but no amount of reading or sharing can prepare you for any moment after she’s died, and you realise all you need is your Mum. Anything can evoke that moment – mine have ranged from not knowing who to contact when the boiler broke down at 4:45pm on a Friday to burning the white sauce for the lasagne! Your day to day becomes not having your Mum. You get used to not saying her name, you get used to not smelling her perfume or seeing her clothes. You meet someone and they might ask what your parents do, if you live with them, who you’ll be spending Christmas with – and you have to tell them that your Mum doesn’t do anything, she doesn’t live anywhere, and there’s no Mum to see at Christmas. You do not get used to having to allow other people time to process the fact that your Mum has died.
For my whole life my Mum had been the one that was there. Dad had left when I was 3, and although my brother and I saw him and spent time with him regularly, we lived with Mum. She was the one waking us in the morning and the one putting us to bed, she was the one working 60 hours a week across three jobs to pay the mortgage. Mum was the one who spoke to our teachers, helped us stand up to our bullies, took us to and picked us up from friends’ houses. I am terrified that I will not have her to guide me through my own journey of motherhood, through my own experiences of sleepless nights trying to put my babies to bed, confronting bad behaviour, doing homework with them. She did all of this by herself, it breaks my heart to know through this she never showed us how exhausted and lonely she must have been.
But at least she’ll never be able to laugh at my kids being challenging little shits and claim it as karma…