Today marks the one year anniversary of my mum’s death and I can remember it like it was yesterday; it feels permanently etched into my brain and I will never forget it. The year has passed but my pain hasn’t lessened one bit. My mum was ill for the second time for over a year before she died and in the end, and she remained strong in every way, a true inspiration.
Mum got admitted to hospital, I visited her every day, talking to her, smiling at her. To be honest, I was numb throughout the entire situation, only living for that day at a time. My mum was in over the summer and was admitted to hospital a few weeks before I started back at Uni and there was that question whether I would actually go to university for my third year or defer my place. At this point, people had already started to tell me what to do and tell me to start back at university anyway and my mum was in the best place. I was so angry because they had no right to tell me to do that, we had no idea what I was going through and how I felt, didn’t even know myself but I know I didn’t want to lose a single second with mum.
I was at University Freshers Week 2018 when dad called me home saying mum had taken a turn for the worst. When I get home to Birmingham and he’s got to the hospital, mum was in the hospital bed, laying there. I hated seeing her like that and from that day up to the day she died, I was able to talk to her but I’m not even sure that she heard me.
“I always thought there would be this day where we got to say our good-byes, but death… death is on its own clock” Ren McCormack, Footloose 2011.
This is so true. Since the day she died, it’s haunted me that I can’t remember the last thing I said to her. I have been torturing myself, I shouldn’t have gone back to Uni, I should have stayed at home and spoke to her and told her how much I love her. But now, I just have to try and encourage myself that she already knows that. I truly wish that I could have had that conversation with her to tell her everything I’m possibly thinking and feeling, wanting to give her the biggest hug!
Following her death, people kept telling me how to think and feel. I know they’re only trying to help, but I know my own body and I know my own mind, don’t need to be told how to think and feel. People also told me to go back to uni as that’s what mum would have wanted and insinuated that I would let her down if I didn’t go back to University for my third year then I would be letting my mum down. How could they put these sort of things in my head when I’m already having the voices of my own telling me these things.
Look this post isn’t about me having a shout at the world or a shout at different people…
This year I have felt anger, betrayal, sadness and all around grief. I love and think about her every second of every day, every waking hour and even in my dreams every night. I am pleased to see her in my dreams, in the days and the first month following her death, I kept dreaming that she was still alive and this hurt me even more because I woke up here rolling down my cheeks and my heart breaking as I had to accept the reality of the day. Then I started to dream of her and it causes me more pain to see her, but her just being out of reach or seeing her and see her lips moving, but not hearing her voice. I don’t know what why this was, my mind is trying to protect itself against the pain of hearing her voice or some other reason. Then I can walk down the street and I could swear that I’ve seen her walk ahead of me all of the opposite side of the road. I have been sure is that it is her and I can hear her but from a distance and that is what rips up my heart. I go home to Birmingham every weekend, while I’ve been at University and though I have found enormous comfort in this, I do find the pain, my mind has convinced itself that she is going to walk through our front door and I have heard it a few times as well. I have had to look twice at everyone who comes into the house and I hate it when I see it not the one person I want to be.
Now having finished University and graduated a few months ago, I can reflect on my decision to go back to University for my third year so soon after my mum’s death, three days to be exact. All through the year, I kept focused on my studies and have felt and kept myself very detached. The mental and the physical strain has been intense and I wouldn’t want to repeat it. On reflection I think I buried myself too much in my study and not face my inner demons and dealt with my grief, sometimes cracking under the pressure and breaking down. Going back to University has both been a help to me and told me and whatever people say about going back to University is a distraction and that’s what my mum would have wanted, it has not. These people have no idea what they’re saying and so they think they mean well, in fact, they are causing me more upset as I felt that extra pressure to pass. I don’t deny I passed my degree, but people pilled so much pressure on me and I was sick of it.
Time is the greatest healer is another one of the cliches and its total bullshit. Add that to the pile of crap people say. At the end of the day, the grief is yours and there was is no rule book for it. Don’t let anyone fill your head with things you don’t want. It is ok to scream, to shout, to throw things, don’t bottle it up otherwise you will explode at the wrong people. Times like this you will find out who your friends really are and the people who are there for you, so it’s important to keep close connections with them.
Find your own way of coping; take time out or bury yourself in something. There is no rulebook, despite what you may hear or think, only you know what’s right for you!