In less than 24 hours it will be the 14th of August. The 14th of August is the date that life, as I knew it, would never be the same. The 14th of August is the date my Mother died.
For the last few days I feel as though I have been watching a metaphorical clock. I feel as though I have been watching this clock and counting down the seconds with it. Counting down the seconds until it’s finally the 15th of August and I can put the 14th behind me for another year. The truth is though, I know better than that. I know that, when I wake up on the morning of the 15th of August that I won’t feel any differently to how I felt waking up on the morning of the 14th of August. I think that’s what makes that day so much worse. It’s still the expectation of feeling “better”. It’s as though you almost believe that all of your sadness will be absorbed by this one day. This one day that you truly allow yourself to feel every emotion as though it really is for the very first time. This one day that you eventually succumb. This one day that you finally allow your thoughts of her to run riot in order to honour her and her memory because after all, what else is it for? I can say with the upmost certainty that feeling “better” never comes. I can say with the upmost certainty that it never will. That’s grief for you, an everlasting.
Another year has almost passed and I find myself looking back to see how much she has missed. It’s probably not the healthiest thing to do but I spend best part of my year not thinking about it therefore, I allow myself these few days. I never stop wondering though. I wonder constantly. I wonder how she would of celebrated her 43rd birthday, I wonder what friends she’d of kept in touch with, I wonder what colour her hair would of been by now, I wonder what she would of thought of the last series of Criminal Minds. I wonder what words she would of chosen, I wonder what she would of wore to her Grandson’s Christening, I wonder what card she might of bought me for my birthday this year, I wonder what I would of bought her for Mother’s Day. I wonder what she would of cooked for tea on a Tuesday, I wonder if she would of embraced sandals again this Summer, I wonder if she would of believed in fate upon me explaining that I’ve found myself falling back in love with the man who I loved before any other. I wonder if she would of found her second chance by now and I wonder what she’d of thought of my blue hair.
I look at all of the things that have changed. I look at my life and wonder how I have survived this long without her. I look at my pregnant sister and wonder how she does it. I look at my other sister’s strength and resilience and remember how I find mine. I am in, and will remain in constant awe of my two sisters. I feel nothing but the upmost privilege in being their older sister. I can only hope that wherever my Mam is that she is only prouder than I am. I know that whatever happens, because of them, I will never be alone. I know that I am not alone in this. I am profoundly grateful to not be alone in this, as grief is the loneliest feeling in the world.
I look at all of the things that have changed and I can’t help but notice the things that are still the same. I still wonder just as much now as I did during that first year, I still pray for a sign that she’s okay and on the subject on praying I still wish that I could find faith. I can’t help but imagine things being easier if I had it. Faith in that everything that has happened to me and to us was all part of God’s “master plan”. I still wish that I fully believed in Heaven. I still like to envision my Mam in her version of what that is though. Everytime I hear the first few lines of “Fields of Gold” I picture her, in her very own special version of Heaven.
So, here I am… almost another full year later and at the risk of sounding contradictory to my second paragraph, I still feel exactly the same in regards to some days are better and some days are worse. This is the way my life is now. Some days, I’m lighter and some days, I feel like I’m being suffocated. Some days, I’m laughing and some days, there is a lump in my throat that I can’t ever swallow. Some days, I’m both. When I said that “better” never comes, I meant it in a different way. A way that is too tricky to put into words but I’m going to give it a try anyway… to state the obvious, I’ll never feel “better” about losing my Mam (not in the back of a cupboard) but as more time passes the better I feel about my ability to continue my life, without her. Because let’s face it, she would kill me herself for throwing the towel in.
Again, here I am almost two years later and I am so different and so very much the same. In lots of different ways. I miss my Mam, dearly and I have found that I have needed her a lot more recently. There will always be times in my life like that, where some moments I feel I need her more than others. These are the kind of moments that no one can prepare you for. The kind of moments in which it’s harder to remember that you are not alone. I am still just as confused as ever about my emotions and my capability of handling them. I am still just as curious about my “strength” and where I seem to find it. I’m still just as grateful everytime I hear my name and that word used together in the same sentence. I am still not sure on how I feel about being a Motherless Daughter in my twenties.
I remember at the very beginning when we first lost her (not in the local Asda) that I was absolutely petrified of forgetting the sound of her voice. I never wanted to lose the ability of remembering what her voice sounded like when she would say my name. I would bargain that, I would happily lose all other memories and recollections of what her voice sounded like if I could always keep those two syllables. I’m pleased to say that I haven’t forgotten. I remember, clear as day. Sometimes, I pretend she’s shouting of me from just upstairs and for a brief moment it’s as though it’s truly real. For a brief moment, I forget.
I forget that she’s gone. I forget that it happened. I forget the suffocating feeling of pain and of grief. Then I remember. I remember everything all at once. I remember, her smile and her laugh and what her hands looked like. I remember her eyes and her ears and the way she used to walk. I can still picture her walking towards me when I’m in certain places. Almost like a mirage. I’m grateful for the ability to forget but I’m more grateful for the ability to remember and I’m especially eternally grateful to be her daughter.
In Loving Memory
Nicola Jane Ross
13th March 1976 – 14th August 2017