Gone… but never forgotten?

 

By the sea

Sunday 10th August

My mum was gone, and I knew that it my head, but it would take a while to feel that in my heart. Until then I would need to respect the grief of my mum’s family and friends, and wait for her death to become real for me.

I remember when I lost my Nan, 18 months ago. It was just after Christmas, and I was living in the city. I knew she missed me, so I gave her a picture of the sunset on the beach near the city, as her Christmas present. I told her that I loved going there,to listen to the waves, and splash in the sea. I didn’t know she was dying. The night I travelled back to the city after the Christmas holiday, I received a phone call from my mum. My Nan had passed away from undiagnosed pneumonia. I grieved for her. I forgot to eat, and felt physically sick. I was continually on the verge of tears, and small things, like the children I worked with telling me about their grandparents, made me cry. I hid my grief well, I held my tears until I was out of sight, kept her passing as need to know. My friend Sarah knew; she reminded me to eat, listened to the stories of my barmy Irish Nan over and over again, and hugged me when she knew I hurt. As often as I could during those first few weeks, I sneaked off to the beach after sunset, where I walked along the deserted sand, talking to my Nan. I figured if she was going to look for me, it would be where the picture had been taken. It was stupid and dangerous, but I didn’t care; I just hurt.

I still miss her sometimes. I remember bunking off lessons during my A-levels to go to her house for dinner. And how she used to take my sister and I to the park after visiting the graveyard. How she bought me ice-cream but always had to have the first lick. She taught me to knit, and to sing Irish songs. After she died, I wrote down all my memories of her so that I wouldn’t forget them. It helped me to move on; I was no longer afraid of forgetting her.

I couldn’t write down all my memories of my mum, there are too many. Sometime’s I worry that I’ve forgotten the sound of her voice, or I’ll forget how it felt to hug her before she got sick. All the silly things I’ve heard people talk about in movies, that I thought was mushy nonsense, is now important to me. I’ll never get to brush my face against her soft hair, or cuddle up with her on the couch.

Tomorrow’s the funeral. I wonder if it’ll feel real then?

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