My poor neglected blog! I haven’t felt like writing or honestly, doing much of anything that involves thinking too much or talking too much or seeing people or… The list goes on! I’ll cut to it. On August 11th, after a lengthy dance with death and exhibiting her stubborn streak for the last few weeks in particular, my Mum died. My initial reaction was relief that her battle to cling to life was over. She’d been very ill for some time and didn’t have much quality of life stuck in her bed in her nursing home unable to walk or even eat. It felt like she just found freedom somehow and the only sadness in my heart at her passing is marked repeatedly with good memories that make me smile.
Grief is so intensely personal and I began to grieve my Mum so long ago now that it feels a bit like it has for the last few years – the slow fading of her presence in our day to day lives and the tortuously long goodbye that was her passing, actually makes this feel like the full stop to it all. This has not been the hardest part for me. The hardest part was the last 8 years. I had a very dear friend say to me that I’ve been grieving now for 10 years if I include my Dad and others lost to one thing or another. She’s right. I’ve waded through it all (some days knee deep in shit and muck and utterly stuck!). I’ve gotten through and even lately begun to thrive and live and feel the joy. But I never felt the bedrock of my life as I have these last few years. It’s joy. I can feel it with the rest of it and it’s always there as a solid foundation holding me up. I will admit though, I have seriously been feeling bad about not feeling bad – where on earth did I think that’d get me?! It stops today.
Honestly, I feel a sense of joy that Mum has slipped away to some other place, hopefully better and that now I get to remember her the way I would like to remember her. I’m remembering feelings, smells, snippets of time spent with her, sayings, food, wisdom and giggles that I’ve not recalled for a long time. Right now it feels like I get to reclaim her memory from the disease that robbed her personality and the way life has gone these last few years and that, well that’s just the most beautiful thing about it all and I’ll enjoy that for as long as it lasts. My heart sinks on a regular basis when I remind myself she’s gone, but my heart will get used to that, and I do always follow it with a smile or a chuckle – Peggy style.
So, I’m back. I’m painfully slow getting back into the everyday and trying to focus back on the stuff that keeps me lit and joyful. I get to choose now how to celebrate the life my Mum had and the joy and love she brought. I’m letting go of a relationship that has darkened my light and stolen my joy for some time and removing myself from the grip of something that served only to make me sad. Autumn’s here (today could have fooled me though!) and I’m looking forward to hot chocs, fires, boots, beanies, beautifully long leafy walks with the collection of pooches I’m blessed to be entrusted with. I hope there’ll be participation in some projects to spread the embracing and take on diet-land and of course, some crafty projects to zone out on and get creative with. Me time. Slow. Steady. Easy. Bright. Lit up. Released. Free. Hopefully with a spark of all the lovely beings we’ve lost these last few years and always with the gratitude of the love they brought.
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.