Today is the 20th of March. It is not just any ordinary Monday. This day thirty years ago my Mum lost her battle with Cancer.
It was the darkest, saddest day of my life. Still is.
We watched her suffer for several years and it was heartbreaking.
I was sixteen when she died and my sister was fourteen. All of my teenage years were consumed with Mum’s illness and I had a far from normal secondary school life. I was in Year 12 and had spent three months over our summer in New Zealand on an exchange and did not have the luxury of spending that holiday time with her. But I guess I was also getting on with my life and took the opportunity of a life-time and experienced much while away from my family.
I had only returned from New Zealand a few days before my Dad told me Mum had a month to live. It was an awkward conversation as he was driving me to visit my best friend. He struggled to give me the news.
I understand now how immensely difficult it was for him to do that. I was in total disbelief as Mum was quite well when I left. Maybe they didn’t tell me before I left so that I could go and fully enjoy my exchange.
The amazing thing is though, the entire time I was away I felt that something was wrong.
The day Mum died I was in a biology lesson. I dropped a test tube in the lab at 3.00pm which I later learned was the time she slipped away. Our Grandparents picked up my sister and I from school and drove us to the hospital. We went into the room and met our Dad who just sat in the chair with his head in his hands. He was devastated. Mum was the love of his life and they adored each other.
She was just lying there, not moving, not breathing, just completely still.
She looked sad, she had finally been totally consumed by her disease.
I will never forget that day, nor how I felt noticing that her chest wasn’t rising and falling.
It was so final and so brutal.
I felt as if my world had ended. I felt helpless, lost and immense fear as to what the future would be like with this hole in my soul.
Experiencing that all consuming grief as a child is so different than when an adult. I didn’t have the adult wiring to rationalise my grief.
Remembering all the different stages of that journey always takes me back to that painful time. That hole is still there. It has never been filled.
Daughters losing their mothers at such a young age leaves a scar that can never heal.
My beautiful sister and I have always carried our sadness.
However, we have also learnt to carry on and live our lives and be strong women. Probably too much for our own good at times.
I have sought help when I needed it. I have processed much over the years.
I constantly worried that I would walk her path, and here I am. But, my journey is different to hers and will not end the same way.
I am meant to be here. I am meant to be here for my children, husband, sister, family and friends. I am meant to be here for me…
I have accepted what is and am looking forward. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am learning to let go and take each day at a time. Each day there is much to be grateful for.
Life really is beautiful.
If you woke up today you have much to be grateful for too. Celebrate, every. little. thing.
Stop and think about all the good things that have happened in your life. Celebrate the people in your life too. They have been sent to you for a reason. Even the ones that have hurt you are just teaching you more about yourself so you can grow.
Just live your life through love.
Go on, I dare you.
See what happens…