I have to apologise for my indulgent ramblings of the last two days regarding my mother and as soon as I have shared the following with you I promise I shall mention her no more.
You see, something strange – really strange – happened to me last night.
I had the urge to post a daft bit of a poem on here, about mum, and so I did. I never post at night but last night I did. I then received a comment from Elaine that made me snivel a bit and so I closed everything down and went to bed. It was then that this ‘something strange’ happened. No I didn’t find the lost bra under Richard’s pillow or anything like that. I think I need to share a bit of back story with you …
My mother kept her illness a secret and it wasn’t until she was really poorly that any of us realised that she was terribly ill. I won’t witter on, other than to say when my brother alerted me to the fact that mum was ill I rushed to see her. I am not a doctor and I am not a nurse but I know a really sick animal when I see one and my mum looked really sick. There is little difference between sick animals and sick humans.
We took her to a doctor who arranged for her to spend the night in the local hospital and to have a scan on her lungs the following morning. As I left mum in the cottage hospital I turned to look at her and she gave me a hateful look which clearly said, ‘why have you put me in here?’
That was the last look my mum ever gave to me. The phone rang at four am to say that mum had died, unexpectedly, alone. The autopsy showed lung cancer and that it had spread to other vital organs.
The shock to my father was heartbreaking to see. All he could say was, ‘She’d only gone in for tests.’
After this, dad’s health suffered. He’d had a small stroke a few weeks before mum died. He then had an aneurysm and underwent emergency surgery which saved his life but wrecked his kidneys. For eight years we looked after dad and watched him slowly deteriorate. A strong, independent, life-loving man, forced by age and life to admit defeat.
When dad died I was gutted. Utterly. Completely. Gutted. That was six years ago and I think about him everyday. But I don’t think about mum every day, in fact rarely – and this is my point. I always tell people that, although I was always closest to mum, I rarely miss her, or think about her and that it is dad that is constant. I have always considered that this is because dad was ill, in varying degrees, on and off, for eight years and that because of this I’d grown closer to him. But after last night I now know this is not true…
Back to now. Last night, as I slipped into bed, my mum was still on my mind. I switched off the light and lay in the darkness. Suddenly I started to cry. And I mean really cry. First just a trickle of tears and then the floodgates opened. This has never happened since the day she died, fourteen years ago. The whole bed shook. I shook. I think the bloody house shook! And then, some dark, thick blanket lifted, it all became crystal clear. I had never mourned for mum because …I hadn’t forgiven her for dying.
I really don’t know what happened after that. I remember sobbing and laughing …and laughing and sobbing. But the only thoughts in my head were, ‘I never forgave you. I never forgave you. Not for keeping your illness a secret. Not for dying alone. Not for leaving me.
Today I feel closer to my mum than muscle is to bone. We are back together again.
I have forgiven her for dying and I have forgiven myself for not having forgiven her.
My point. My lesson, if there is one, is, no matter how long it takes (in my case fourteen years) if you hang on, the answer to everything will come. I have no idea why it has taken this long. And I have no idea why the answer came now, on the day that would have been her birthday.
Perhaps dad gave mum a little nudge and said, “go on, Joyce, tell her. Put her out of her misery. Don’t you think she has suffered in ignorance for long enough?”
Take care my lovelies x
PS Thank you for the likes and for your comments. Your kindness amazes me – truly.