I think I’ve cracked. Mary went into hospital again. This time because she fell over several times at home. She is covered in bruises and has an absolute corker of a black eye. I had my first experience of NOT wanting to leave her. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to articulate what that’s about – I’m still unravelling it in my head, but as ever it is connected to mum. I think…I think that in some strange way Mary reminded me of mum. I know that might seem obvious, but I don’t mean in terms of their experience – I mean almost physically. There was something similar about them when Mary was in hospital. Mum was absolutely stunning. And in brutal honesty, I haven’t spent much time thinking that of Mary. But there was something different about her this time, aside from the bruises. She looked happy somehow. Despite bruises and being bedridden, her face was brighter and she smiled more. And she has some similar mannerisms to mum…the way she rolls her eyes when waiting for the doctors, or teasing her bedside neighbour. She has lost so much weight and wasn’t wearing her glasses so I could see the structure of her face more…and anyone that knew mum would remember her cheekbones. I really felt, for the first time, a connection with Mary that went deeper than just my role as a community support volunteer. I felt related in some way. Oh Shit.
Mary is now back at home but things have changed dramatically. She has carers in three times a day, walks with a stick and has moved her bedroom downstairs. Although she still exclaims in horror ‘I’m not old! I want to get better!’ I think she’s actually relieved and happy to have the constant company and care that being less able and more ill has provided her. Since my ‘cracking’ moment, I have settled in to my role more comfortably and enjoy coming up with new recipe ideas for her energy drinks, and suggesting new ‘sitting’ activities like crosswords. We also went for a walk up the road the other day, no more than 20 steps, but the effect on her spirits was phenomenal. I’ve never seen anyone’s face light up so much just from stepping outside their front door.
I think this has all been compounded with the looming reality of Mums Second Death Day this Sunday on 13th October. These past few weeks I’ve found myself reaching for my phone to ring mum, thinking things like ‘oh I must tell mum about that’, hearing the door go and for a split second thinking ‘there’s mum!’ These are things I did constantly after she died. But I haven’t done them for months. Its strange how my internal body clock is going ‘nows the time Annie…now’s the moment your mum died’. In contrast to last year I don’t want to be involved in a big group ritual to remember her. I feel a distinct need to remember her with my own private ceremony, my own personal, one to one ritual. So this year I’ve decided I’m going to burn the letters I have written to mum since she died. And then I’m going to scatter the remaining ashes (which are STILL in a tupperware in my desk drawer!) in my new garden.
See you Sunday mum.