As a few of you will know, my mother passed away in April after I'd nursed her through her final six months of life. That role helped me to cope, I think, with the aftermath. That and the signs I got that she was looking out for me. My natural self-reliance was another thing: I'm used to a solitary life and taking care of myself. Finally, there was the book I was writing about our time together, and about our life history. That helped to keep her alive, in a sense, for me.
It's over seven months ago now. In that time, I've finished the first draft of the book and started a new job, which I've settled into reasonably well. I don't like the travelling. But I like only working four days and routine, unchanging hours. The work itself isn't what I thought it would be, and I find it a bit of a trial some days - but it's okay.
I was happier at my old place, which I left to look after mum. Last week, I saw my old job advertised and applied for it. I have an interview on Wednesday. I don't need to prepare. I know the people well enough. I know what they'll ask. I think it will be a formality. It'll mean slightly longer hours, and eventually alternating late and early shifts. I don't like that idea so much. But again, I liked it there. And it's just along the road from where I live, so no more travelling. I can sell the car.
Naturally, though, this stuff is all churning through my head. Is it too much change, too soon? Two new jobs in the same year that I lost my mother? Am I asking too much of myself?
Today, I started the second draft of the book. Much more is coming out. I can feel it coming to life.
And now - tonight, just a half-hour ago - something suddenly hit me and brought me low. It was like that sudden sense of dropping you get in a very fast-descending elevator.
Mum's gone. She's not here any more. That wonderful person is gone, and all I have is the memories, the keepsakes, the photos... and this pile of pages of her life.
I never expected it to creep up on me like this. The time of year probably isn't helping, as she always loved Christmas, and we always had such a lovely time together - just the two of us - over Christmas.
But she's no longer there.
Phew. I need to go to bed.
this is all part of your healing and grieving process....and as you know that is bitter sweet..the fact that you have such fond memories you should be thankful for x
it is an emotive time of year for a lot of us. I dread it as it reminds me of what I do not have. Thankfully I have family who are alive but unfortunately are estranged.
hang in there Tom....your process and journey are healthy
A couple of other things have added to it this week. On Wednesday, I checked Facebook just before I left for work. On the main timeline was a 'memory' from a year earlier, which the bot kindly thought I might like to share again. It was a photo of mum's Christmas tree, just after I'd decorated it. It was an artificial one she'd had for many years, and it always looked lovely. When I put it away in January, though, a couple of the wire branches finally came off. In May, during the clearance, I steeled myself to throw it in the dumpster.
Then, yesterday. It was so cold last night that I thought I'd get a hot water bottle to put under Daisy's blanket. I went to Aldi's to get one, but they'd sold out. Everywhere else was closed. Then I remembered that mum had one. It was packed away in a suitcase under my bed, along with lots of her other personal things. Nervously, I got the case out and opened it. The smell was the first thing to hit me - a mixture of lavender and perfume. It was like having a ghost pass through me. I should have shut it down right then. But I saw the bottle. And then I saw a couple of balls of wool and some needles - with a scarf mum had been knitting. I'd bought the wool for her just after last Christmas, when she was struggling with jigsaw puzzles, but wanted something that she could make - and to keep her brain active. It was the last thing she'd ever put her hands to making. It was beautifully done... as far as she'd got with it. I'd forgotten about it - packing it away quickly at the time, as with everything else.
I should have just let it be... x