Well my book is finished. Signed off, ready for production. It feels really strange. As with most big deadlines, one builds up to it, and fantasises about feelings and reactions…and of course nine times out of ten, the reality is always significantly different. But I could never have predicted how bereft I would feel. Ironic isn’t it, considering the book is about dealing with the bereaved. I’ve adjusted now, but for a couple of weeks I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore. And it is only now, not having a book to write, that I can really see how much the experience has been just as much about coping, as it has been about communicating a message to people. In writing about my grief, I was making meaning out of the pain of losing Mum, I was doing something with the pain, using it. The pain has lessened, enormously, but it hasn’t disappeared. It will never disappear. And so I am now faced with having to choose how to bear this pain without my previously effective coping tool. I have this blog for one, but actually I’ve realised I must now let there be space for this wounding to just be there.
And of course the meaning I’ve carved out of my experience continues in my work with Mary, who is still going, just about. She is now in the hospice more than she’s at home, and has finally surrendered to her helplessness. She admits that things are ‘not good’ and is totally shameless with her anxiety of being alone. In many ways it is a relief, but I have surprised myself by how much I miss the feisty Mary in denial. Gone are the days of wishing she would face up to reality. Now I am once again playing the waiting game, with her. It’s sad, especially as she is so isolated. It will be even sadder when the time comes. But mostly, it’s a privilege to be there with her and accompany her on this final phase of her journey.