I had been putting it off for weeks.
The fact that I needed to visit was a difficult concept, not just because the house would be filled with memories – both good and bad – of how Mum was, but also because I felt really guilty. My step dad lives there now, by himself, but at least he has our cat, Emi, to keep him company; and she is a joy to be around.
Stepping back into that house, (‘home’ is now a word that I can’t associate it with) was hard. I knew it was going to be, but actually being there once more, standing in the rooms where my Mum had suffered her falls, confronting those horrible, twisty, stairs where she had been taken down them by the ambulance, never to return?
I had to distance myself, so I could enjoy spending time with my family. It was the only way that I could function, as I normally do, whilst staying there. It was good to see my room – but I viewed it as maybe an actor would view a film set. There was a cool, calm ‘detachment’ from the place; as if others had rearranged my life and I wasn’t sure if anything fitted anymore. Does that make sense? It was an odd sensation; a feeling that I knew would never leave me.
Yes, I’d had some wonderful times under this roof, but I’d also experienced Mum’s drinking, her accidents, and her stumbling, and gazing into space too. These times – unfortunately – have now overshadowed what was once my little sanctuary.
I can visit. I can laugh…..
but there will always be something missing, and that’s my Mum; not the Mum who was ill, the person who was always there for me, who was happy with us, who would laugh insanely with me at Despicable Me minions when they turned purple and goggle-eyed, the person who would enjoy watching the Guv screaming at ‘bloody great bastards!’ (excuse my French, not that she would care about expletives, in fact she once told me “I’m so glad that you’re older, now I can swear around you and not feel guilty!”).
We put Mum’s ashes in her jewelry box, the one she loved; and it fitted like a glove. It was very weird, but perfect too 🙁 There’s now a display in the dining room – walls covered with framed pictures of Mum, me, Dave and Emi – happier times, genuine smiles. I didn’t look much at them. That’s not my way of coping, but it’s so good to see how happy we all were – during a lot of the years together.
After all, it wasn’t always bad.
We had some excellent memories that have just been swept under the rug because so much had happened in the background, but Mum and I had the same sense of humour. We (all of three of us, four, sorry, Emi) celebrated Christmas like an expensive holiday. We’d never go abroad, that was our one luxury in the year – and boy, did we embrace the glitter, the bells, the presents and the food. Yes, it was outrageous, but it was ours. It was our outrageous few days where we would close ourselves off from the rest of the world and immerse.
In that kitchen, we voiced a cartoonish egg whisk *there’s a video online, and I will share when I feel able!* In the coming months and years, I must try and replace the sad moments with the good moments.
Just – immerse…..
I remember writing our books on the patio in the summer, eating orange ice lollies together. I remember Mum dancing to ‘One Direction’, collapsing in fits of laughter over the stupidest things on TV, and then those tender moments, where I’d be mentally weak with depression or anxiety and she would just take me in her arms and whisper that everything was going to be okay, it would pass…..
She even wrote me a list
‘What would Harry (Potter) do?’ ‘Listen to logic’ ‘Never stop dreaming’ and my favourite, ‘I am Mum’s little miracle’
Needless to say, on the last night before I returned home, I packed this list and it is now in my room by the sea. Suffering from mental weakness only recently, I looked at this list and I instantly felt better and stronger. That was Mum’s power. She could cheer you up in a heartbeat.
I couldn’t write all day yesterday, not properly, and I think the answer was staring me in the face. I had to get this out first. That’s not to say that editing this week will be a ‘walk in the park,’ but I had so many emotions rushing around my head, including a headache that lasted two days whilst I was back there, that I needed space to breathe, to reflect on what I’d experienced again.
Hope you enjoyed reading this entry.
As always, if you’d like to hear more, please sign up to my blog.
Love you, Mum