Monday, 4 April 2011

she would have been...

yesterday, my mum would have turned sixty-five.

for the last two weeks i've been battling some rather ugly emotions surrounding my mum and the fact that this was the sixth birthday of hers that she's missed. the sixth birthday that we've not gathered as a family and celebrated the fact that she was another year older with a pile of suitably tacky fibre-optic angels and country-music cd's.

to everyone it's just another day now. not a day for celebrating or eating cake. it's a day of nothing special for anyone but me, it seems.

my mind's been a mess, thinking about her and waking from dreams of her being alive. dreams that have make me spend the following morning doubled-over, missing her face and her hugs.

i've been attempting to dissect the things i've been experiencing in the last several weeks and all i can conclude is that she's gone and there was nothing i could have done about it. one day she was there and then she wasn't... she was ill, in hospital and i was five thousand miles away and completely helpless. all i did was stop calling as often because it was too painful for me, not thinking about the pain she was having to endure. 

whilst i was in england it was easier for me to hide from her pain. i didn't have to listen to countless doctors listing the new medications they would try. i didn't have to see her arms covered in bruises left in the wake of medications that made her skin fragile as a peach. over there i could happily prance through the supermarket without having to see her favourite type of bread, which would inevitably leave me feeling that familiar pang of loss in my chest from knowing that my time helping her with her shopping was cut horribly short because i left and she became more ill.

being back for her birthday has only really awarded me the chance to feel guilty for all the things i didn't tell her, all the times i didn't ring and all the photos i didn't take.

in an attempt to create some sort of connection and reason for my grieving this long after her death, i've been contacting my family to see how they're dealing with the loss... what they were planning to do for her birthday. i spoke to my sisters, grandparents and aunty... most of them didn't even seem to remember or want to mention that it was her birthday.

ladonna was the only one who mentioned our mum. she said that it's not her birthday that upsets her, but more the anniversary of her death (august thirty-first). i tried to understand why THAT day, the day we've only had to live with for six years, was more emotional for her than the day that was celebrated with a combination of hugs, tacky romance novels and red lobster for fifty-nine years.

i sought to grasp how the fact that we will never, ever be able to go and see her in her room filled with too many stuffed animals, arms filled with presents wrapped in glittery wrapping-paper... something we celebrated every year that i have been alive, could be less emotional than a day that we all had anticipated and grieved for already.

obviously, i don't think her pain is unjust, because i absolutely do still feel horrible botheration when that last day in august finally arrives and i am forced to remember that final phone call and the fact that i felt so helpless. i feel a pain that i wish so hard i could take away. i wish that i could go back in time and buy a ticket home the day she went back in the hospital so i could have been there, holding her hand and actually saying goodbye to her... making sure that she KNEW i loved her.

i so often feel like i wronged her for not having been there. for leaving to pursue my own future when i knew she was so fragile and needed me. i look at photos from her last birthday and i almost hate my sisters for having been able to be there. for having been able to spend the day listening to her talk and watching her smile.

that's what i miss the most. her smile. it was so simple and beautiful and she offered it so often for no reason other than that she was alive.

so, here i am, a day after she would have turned sixty-five... wishing i'd not missed so much, but also, hoping so much that she knows i still love her and think about her every single day. one day, hopefully, this will get easier.


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