A year ago this was the last week that life was normal. Before the ten weeks that followed and changed everything.
I spent last weekend sorting some of mum’s stuff with my brother and sister. It was the first time since mum died that the three of us have been on our own. As we sorted, we talked, we cried, we laughed.
We agreed that we were, in some way, feeling nostalgic. It seems odd to be nostalgic for a time that was so horrific, but there is no other way to describe it. In the same way I spent the days leading up to the M’s first birthdays remembering “this time last year…” I have been remembering This Time Last Year. Only this time there isn’t such a happy ending.
Maybe the nostalgia is more for what we still had – a mum, and the knowledge that she loved us. The fact that she could still give us a cuddle to comfort us when the reality of what was happening hit us, while she was being so brave herself. Or the fact that even though talking was too tiring, she could at least text us to say she loved us. Or when I was awake thinking dark thoughts at 3am she’d be 80 miles away, possibly thinking dark thoughts too, but she’d send me a tweet to tell me everything would be ok.
Grief is a peculiar thing. I thought I’d turned a corner but the last few days, being back at mum’s house, remembering, have brought me right back to the beginning again. I’m feeling a little bit lost, like I’ve lost my anchor. If I’m honest it’s the same feeling (only maybe not as strong) that I felt for the whole time mum was ill. Like I’m just functioning, without any sense of being able to control what is going on around me. Like there’s a little well of panic in my chest that could spill out at any minute.
Only this time I don’t have a mum to send me a comforting message or a reassuring cuddle.