When Mum died in September last year, I almost felt as if I was regaining her after the awful ravages of cancer. At the funeral, I smiled quite a lot thinking about what she would be saying about it all, who was there, what they were dressed in, whether my eulogy for her was good enough and what an arsehole the priest was. She had clearly upset him by picking a psalm he did not know!
After sorting through her clothes and even the blankets from her last-week rush into hospital with haemorraging, I could not let them go. I wore her clothes and just could not bear to part with the blankets. Also and unlike my Dad and brother, I could not cope with having photographs of her on display.
A couple of months ago I put up a photo of my Mum. It shows her on the Orient Express trip I bought for my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. She looks so serene and classy. I cannot even imagine how someone who had to share a bed with her 6 siblings in thirties poverty felt on such a luxurious trip. I am also reminded that Mum and Dad only just missed out on their Diamond Anniversary by one year.
This week I put Mum's photo in a nice photo frame so now she sits there on my mantlepiece and it feels OK. Over the months, I have charity shopped most of her clothing a bit at a time and this week the blankets were disposed of. I sense these are signs of my moving on, still grieving but intergrating it more into my life rather than it being so gut-wrenching all the time.
There are still tough times and they catch me unawares. At the school fete, I saw an elderly woman sitting on a bench. She did not look like Mum but it brought up feelings of how nice it would be to have her there. I find myself very greedy for her company but is she had died at 110 years of age, I would have still wanted more. Perhaps it was time for her to have a rest. She always used to laugh that she sensed even when she got to the pearly gates, Saint Peter would be there with a hoover for her to use. As a harrassed housewife and mother, I can now empathise with that one.
I came downstairs yesterday and my little girl had found some pictures that Mum drew for the children when she knew she was dying. There are two of flowers, brighly coloured in pinks and oranges. There is also one of a stripey and slightly cunning looking cat. One for each of my children. Then we found my Mum's last birthday card for my daughter - she had done a drawing of my daughter with spots as she had chicken pox at the time and we could not visit as planned till the week after to avoid Mum getting an infection. By the time we did go, Mum was irritable and said that would be the last day she would see the children, preferring them to remember her in the fun times.
What am I saying? What is the point of this post? I suppose it is just a reflection on how grief changes over time and you learn to fight back the tears and have a positive day anyway. Which is exactly what Mum would have wanted saying, "Now, don't you be getting upset".