Seven years today… that’s how long I have been married.
Every year since my wedding day I have celebrated this day. No more. One year ago today I last saw my mum alive. I spoke to her and brought her water… I adjusted her covers on her bed, closed the window because she was chilled, I cared for her. I wrote out a list of medications for my dad, instructions on times when she could take her pain relief. I didn’t kiss her goodbye – she had the “flu” according to the paramedic. Not just the flu, but a strain which had bypassed her flu jab… something I didn’t want to catch. I left her house with no idea it would be the last time I would speak to her, the last time I would see her alive.
I had no idea that 24 hours later, she would be dead. And in many ways so would I. My insides have been so catastrophically changed from the events that occurred a year ago; I am not the same person. She might as well have died in a car crash – that is how sudden and unexpected her death was. Grief is so very personal, but when I received a call from one of my mums friends a few months after she died, wanting sympathy as her own mum had passed, I very nearly swore down the phone at her. Instead I hung up and never answered another call. Her own mum had been ill for years and her passing was expected. She was in her 90’s.
I am lucky in that my lovely husband of 7 years is so understanding. He understands the grief I am experiencing – his own father passed away over 10 years ago. He was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 6 months following the diagnosis. Matt speaks of his dad, but the devastation of what happened to him as a young man losing his father only became clear to me after my mum had died. I didn’t understand to be honest. No one understands if they haven’t been through it. How can they? Even the most sympathetic and empathetic people have no idea what it means to suffer in this way.
Time does not heal. This is the hardest lesson of my entire life, and words which now mean nothing to me. They are empty words. Those words are as helpful to me as they are to an amputee. Time will no more “heal” someone who has had their limbs removed as it will bring my mum back. Time does nothing except go forward. If it could heal, it would go backwards and stop my mum from dying.
I suppose in a way I am learning to cope better. I no longer take valium – something which I relied quite heavily on for a few weeks, as the trauma of witnessing my mum die played over and over and over in my head. For months I was hysterical when I saw an ambulance, I had a panic attack if the phone rang in the morning (the time when on 2 consecutive days I got bad news), I couldn’t watch anything on TV about hospitals, I had nightmares, I couldn’t bare going to sleep, I couldn’t bare being awake… at times, I couldn’t bare being alive.
I cried and cried and cried…
I became numb. I became able to walk through my daily life and of course I looked the same to everyone. I bore no scars, no outward reminder that something so awful had happened so my world carried on. I am not the same though. I am damaged.
Today is my wedding anniversary and the strongest reminder that I am not the same person my husband married. I love him more now than the day we were married. He has stood by me, comforted me, held me up when I have felt so low.
I am so very thankful that I have my girls. They are my reason to carry on and to “get on with it”. My mum would be furious at how sad I still am, how long I have been grieving for but it is totally out of my control. Even though our relationship was so volatile at times, she was the one person in the whole world who loved me the most and who knew me the best. Even with dad, my girls and my husband surrounding me, her loss makes me feel so alone. She was my mum, and I miss her every minute of every day.
7 years ago today I got married to the most wonderful man. I love you Matt xxx