Wednesday, September 28, 2016
One year ago
On this day a year ago, I said goodbye to my dear Mum. I think I've done pretty well this past year. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've definitely had my moments, but in general, I've both accepted and coped fairly well with Mum's death. Better than I did my dear Dad's, in truth. With Dad, I thought I was over the worst of my grief around the six month mark at the time, but looking back, I was fairly consumed by grief for a good year, perhaps more. It wasn't obvious grief. I wasn't breaking down and sobbing uncontrollably or anything, but it was grief-related, that's for sure. I've learned that grief presents in different ways sometimes. After Dad died, I spent a lot of time looking back on my past, especially my childhood, teens and late teens - even my early twenties - basically when I lived with my parents. I questioned decisions I made and friendships I'd formed and lost. I analysed past relationships. I saw the bigger picture. It's difficult to explain, but essentially I analysed stuff a lot. No stone was left unturned in my mind. Sometimes, that was rather taxing emotionally. I've always been a bit of an over-thinker, and thinking about everything became overwhelming at times.
Then the day finally came when I realised that not only had I stopped analysing everything so much, but that I could also think about Dad and not feel sad anymore; instead I could smile at the memory of him. Embrace today, not live in the past. Corner turned.
However, within a month or two of reaching that inner peace with losing Dad, I found myself flying to Perth to watch my Mum die. I braced myself afterwards, assuming I would react much the same as I had after Dad's death. I even warned my boys of what was to come, 'Some days, I might just seem in a bad mood and you won't be able to work out why because I'll get upset at everything - it just might be because I'm missing Grandma, okay?' In fact, I assumed it might be worse. I was close to both parents, but my Mum and I always had a very special relationship, a particularly strong bond.
Yet, what followed sort of surprised me. Following Mum's death, I found myself looking more to the future than re-living the past, and I guess that may have a lot to do with the fact that there is a sense of calm knowing that my parents are together again - and with my sister, Valda. As they say, it is the circle of life. We all die one day, so it's important to embrace life and enjoy it until that day comes, right? If you want to do something, do it. If you want to feel something, feel it. Look back if you want to - sometimes looking back is the only way we can move forward - but don't forget to look ahead. There's so much more to come, am I right?
Certainly, I feel I have probably embraced life more so over the last year than perhaps I have in the past, or at least a very long time. I'm getting out in the sunshine more, writing more, living more, appreciating more. I have my down days, yes, but all the other days are pretty damn good.
Mum would be proud.
Love and miss you, Mum.