Monday, 11 November 2013

Well, that's it then.

     A friend or mine once said to me that you only really grow up when you lose a parent. I guess that makes me a grown-up then, because my mother died just over a week ago.
    It's interesting, seeing the social conventions of reaction to a death. My mother's passing was very peaceful,instead of succumbing to the leukaemia she caught an infection which weakened her heart. She faded away over a couple of days, ready for her end and not in pain. Her fears of lingering on or losing her mind were not realised.
    I almost feel guilty for not being consumed by grief, because that's how everyone seems to expect me to be. I'm not that way because of the manner of her passing, prepared for it and at the end of a long and happy life. I grieved while my mother was still alive, as I came to terms with news of her illness.
    So life goes on. Every now and then - as when I discovered "custard" and "crust" have the same etymology - I think of something I should tell her because it would interest her, then realise I can't. Which is sad, but not unbearably so.
    My sisters - one too similar to our mum not to chafe with her and the other coming back from a long feud - have had very different reactions from mine. Had they made their peace with her perhaps things might have been different, but as it is I think it'll be a while before they put their feelings to bed. It's my dad I'm worried about, he's of the generation that was taught to bottle everything up. Fortunately I'm the one who lives locally so I'll be spending a lot more time at home from now on. As Christmas approaches I've been making some of the seasonal goodies. I don't want my dad to be reminded of my mum through missing her mince pies.
    My mother's illness has taken up all my time since going full-time. I've not changed my name on a load of things I should have, but it hasn't really mattered. I've been fortunate in that my day-to-day existence hasn't held any transition-related problems..
    On Saturday I went to the pub with a group who knew me as the scruffy bloke for over a decade. Much rubbish was talked about motorcycles, and we encountered a genuine Rock Superstar in person - it's his local.
    The motorcyclists were as they always are. A couple of raised eyebrows from the two I hadn't been able to tell, but otherwise an unremarkable gathering. One or two locals  giving me an extra glance, but not unexpected and also not beyond the mildly curious.
    So yes, a new kind of normality for me. Getting on with it, and without my mum with whom to talk about it. Grown up.


  1. My sincere condolences Jenny. What can be said? I can only say I empathise having lost both my parents myself. Your dad will appreciate your company over the next few weeks until he himself comes to terms with his loss. I am happy your mom passed away peacefully when it could have been so very different. Thinking of you
    Shirley Anne x

  2. My condolences, Jenny. It is comforting to know that your mother passed away peacefully. The time you spent with her must also be a comfort. I'm very familiar with the experience you describe, reading or hearing something and thinking I need to tell my mom about that and realizing a second later that I won't be able to talk about with her. I don't think that goes away for a long time and I don't think it's a bad thing that it doesn't.

    My best wishes to you and your family, especially your father.

  3. Heartfelt condolences, Jenny. You can take comfort in knowing that you helped make your mother's last days as pleasant as they could be. My thoughts are with you.


  4. My sincere condolences too Jenny. My parents went a long time ago and I was not living anywhere near them so it was a bit different. I'm sure you will be a good support for your Dad, and you do know you have friends when you need them.

  5. Loosing someone to report to is a strange feeling…

    At least she was able to meet the real you even though you did not have quite the time you thought you would. As someone who values quality over quantity a quick peaceful end is preferable to what your mother feared.

    A long life is not one to be mourned but one to be celebrated, especially if her mince pies were that good. Hope she taught you her recipe.

  6. We only get one mum and my heart goes out to you, Jenny, at this time of loss. I reckon the greatest achievement achievement a parent may have is children who can face life without us, yet who love us to the end.

  7. Really sorry to hear this, condolences and sterkte.


  8. Morning all, and thanks. It's going to take a while to recalibrate.

    The mincemeat I know how to make. The pastry however is a sod to get right :)

  9. A sad time for you but lightened a little, as you say, by the happy life she led. I hope your father finds a way to talk, its sad when the widowers turn inwards instead of seeking company and support.

    Good that the other side of your life is drama free.

  10. Jenny, it sounds like you're handling the loss of your Mom ok. It's your Dad that I worry about. I hope he makes it through the holidays OK.

    So sorry to hear of your loss, Jenny.

  11. This for me revisits my own Mum's death in 2009. The same kind of thing happened: she had terminal cancer, but instead of that claiming her, it was a sudden stroke.

    My sympathy of course. I do think you're doing the right thing by helping your Dad through this time. You can't quite be your Mum, but you can do so much to fill the gap and keep him cheerful. He will remember it.


  12. Sorry for your loss, Jenny, but pleased to read that you don't live in a cocoon of grief.

  13. It's becoming a habit of mine to reply an embarrassingly long time later isn't it.

    Thanks again all, I appreciate it.