8 days ago it was 4 years since Mum’s death. I’ve been wanting to write this post since then but found it difficult to actually sit down and write about it. What can I say as I chronicle how I’m feeling this far down the track?
A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Sue Welsh who is currently doing a doctorate on roadside memorials so I got to talk through what happened and my feelings about pretty much everything connected with her death both previously and now – so in some ways I thought it would be easier on the day as I had already had a time of reflection.
I guess I was thinking that it would be a sad day but that it wouldn’t be as emotional this year. The day followed the pattern I have set (except for last year when I was in hospital and hardly even aware of it) In the morning I picked a beautiful pink rosebud from a friends garden and drove out to the place that she died. I parked the car and as I got out to place it I suddenly found myself overwhelmed by a huge sense of loss. Tears welled as I cried out to her how much I missed her, how much I wanted a hug, how much I wanted her comfort with all the things that are overwhelming me. After a few minutes I was able to return to the car and I got back in and prepared to drive to the cemetery to lay the other rose that I had picked. I had attached a card to this one and after a great deal of thought I had written the words ‘ We’ll never stop missing you Mum” on it and signed it from my brother, my sister and myself. When I got to the cemetery I placed it on her grave and then took a flower from the crimson carpet rose that Dad has planted there and went home.
Talking to Sue made me realise that I felt a much greater sense of connection with Mum at the site of her death rather than at the cemetery. I guess it’s because that is where her soul left her body…. the last point of connection with HER, not her mortal remains. 8 days ago I also realised that in a sense my grief now is a very selfish thing. The shock is gone now, the emotions aren’t as raw. What I am left with now is how her death has affected ME.
There is also the sadness that she hasn’t got to meet and know the great-grandchildren that she would have loved so much and they haven’t got to know her. I grieve for my father who while getting on with living his life fully never stops missing and aching for her. I know my siblings miss her as do her grandchildren….so I guess I’m not being totally self-centred here but my main emotions are still to do with ME-my loss,my needs.
Does it sound crazy to say that before I missed her presence more but now I miss her comfort and love more? I think guilt is an ongoing part of my grief now too… I am so aware of the times I wasn’t there for her. The times when I know she was hurt because weeks went by without me even thinking to call her. The knowledge that she probably felt unloved by me at times….. guilt for my self absorption and lack of thoughtfulness. And yet this is a fairly normal part of life that most parents have to face as their children are making their own lives in the world.
I suspect that as the years go by that even though it will always be a sad day that I will probably be less affected emotionally. I guess I need to think about why I miss her so much…. it was because she was a good and loving mother who while not perfect did her best.
I love you Mum