I woke up with a start from a night of poor sleep and found it was still dark, I wasn’t sure why and it took me a moment to remember that earlier that evening I had left my Mum at hospital losing her battle with cancer.
Within a minute the harsh ringing of the telephone cut through the night.
I knew what that call was and leapt out of bed and stepped out onto the Landing
And then I stopped – I didn’t want to answer that call, whilst I didn’t then they couldn’t tell me what I already knew in my heart.
And I looked up and saw my dad and my siblings all in the same stopped state as they all had realised the same thing.
In what seemed like horribly slow motion, I watched my Dad, realise that this was on him and he walked so slowly, so painfully slowly, down the stairs to answer the phone.
I don’t remember the words but I remember knowing the confirmation from his response that my wonderful, beautiful, loving and caring mum was no longer part of our world.
I was 28 years old when my mum was taken by cancer, she had initially had breast cancer and beaten it and had been in remission for several years when it came back and was vicious in how it took her. She had it confirmed early in 2019 that the cancer had returned and she died in the October of the same year.
Reacting to losing Mum
I took it hard, really hard – I worked hard but I played harder – I partied like there was no tomorrow and I tried to out shine and out sparkle everyone and anyone to prove that I was ok
But the truth was that I was the very opposite.
I would think nothing of finishing work on a Friday in Yorkshire, driving for a night out on the South Coast, via Leeds to pick up friends, driving back again the next day (dropping friends home along the way). And then I’d go out the following night locally, or host a party – I NEEDED to keep things going.
It took me a long time to come to terms with my mum dying. I wrote to her constantly, I spoke to her daily, I wrote her Christmas cards and actually staked them into her grave. I mourned her and mourned her but somewhere along the last 19 years I started celebrating her. And cherishing what she added to my life and being able to smile and laugh about my times with her. I can’t pinpoint when that happened at all but at some point I allowed myself to feel, really feel the pain of her loss. With the support of my family, my friends and my workplace I managed to find a place more balanced and appropriate for me to be in. I also sought out a counsellor during this time and had 1-2-1 support for several months which really helped.
Don’t get me wrong there are still times I miss her like it was yesterday. The pain is so sharp and intense and excruciating that I’m not sure I can take feeling like it again.
These days can be her birthday, Christmas Day, the anniversary of her death and Mothering Sunday. Mum was always very clear that it was Mothering Sunday and not Mother’s day!. For a long time I would have to avoid anywhere that might remind me of what I had lost and sometimes now it still upsets me. But I think because of letting the emotions do what they needed to do all along, and because of the support I get from my family, friends and work place I can also appreciate what I had. And the love and joy she gave to me and my life and I can cherish the relationship I had with her.