Can you help me hide the body?

Tuesday 29th July 

3:30am. My mum has passed away. I can see her body lying lifeless in her bed. Surprisingly, it doesn’t bother me. This is no longer her. My mum has gone.

My Dad and my sister fall apart, taking turns to comfort each other, and me, I hide. I sit in my bedroom out of sight, alone with my grief. But I don’t feel grieved, I feel numb. I am awake at 3:30am, and I feel this strange mixture of relief and boredom. I text my friends one by one to see if they are awake. No answer. I am getting very bored and the minutes seem to stretch on. I feel bored, but then I feel mischievous. I text each friend the lyrics to the first verse of “Can you help me hide the body?” each line a separate text. I imagine their faces in the morning, discovering their inboxes overloaded, and realising that last night was my mum’s last night. Very dramatic; very me. For some reason, right now, I feel being me is important.

I am hungry. I go into the kitchen and I make a chicken sandwich, scavenging the remains of the donated roast chicken. My sister and my Dad are being emotional around me, as I butter the bread. I wish I could be anywhere but here, with anyone but my family. It will be several hours before the world wakes up. My phone buzzes; Donna asks if there’s anything she can do. 15 minutes later, I slip out of the house and we drive to McDonalds.

I don’t remember what we talked about in the early hours of the morning. I remember that the sun was awake, and there was a beautiful mist over the fields beside the bypass; that morning I learnt that McDonald’s don’t sell chicken before 10am, and the McFlurry machine was broken. I remember feeling very loved, supported and secure; ready to take on whatever the day, or my family, were going to throw at me.

And throw it did. I had no idea that you organised funerals on the day of the death, or what it would feel like going from having a house heaving with people, with carers, nurses and family members constantly visiting to a quiet, still home.

By amazing coincidence, Lola had travelled down the country earlier that week and was camping 45 minutes away. She kidnapped me that afternoon and we went blackberry picking at a country park; I was thrilled, wild fruit foraging was on my bucket list! We talked a little about my mum and my family, but other than that it was a totally normal day. I was thankful to her for giving me time and space away from home; I was certain I would suffocate in the overwhelmingly thick blanket of emotion that covered my Dad and younger sister.

My mum was gone, and I knew that it my head, but it would take a while to feel that in my heart.

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