Eleven days ago, my Mum passed away.
I have struggled with how to feel since then. Struggled at first with the numbness I felt at her passing, almost as if she had just popped to the shops. Not much had really changed, just that she was dead. That sounds strange when I read it back? In the eleven days since I have gone through a series of emotions, I suppose that is perfectly normal. I gradually thawed from the numbness I encountered after her burial. I felt I was somehow wanting as a daughter because I hadn’t yet cried, not when I saw her first in the hospice, not the long night I held her hand, put her oxygen tube back in her nostrils, held her as she became agitated. I watched my family and friends cry. I couldn’t. It just wouldn’t come.
At the funeral I thought “this must be the day” and waited for the tears to engulf me. I sat stoic, through the songs she had loved, through the bitter sweet words of those who had loved her. I looked behind me at shiny, tear stained faces of others and smiled. What the Fuck? You smiled?
When her cardboard coffin was lowered into the ground and I said goodbye to her physical being for the last time, nothing. I smiled and greeted and chatted with people at the pub afterwards, I felt exhausted. Maybe that was it, I was too tired to cry?
And then… it was all over, and as I sat in the petrol station on the way home, it hit me. The enormity of the fact I would never see her again, never speak to her, hear her voice, laugh with her, talk music, culture, films, drink bourbon, get exasperated by her, annoyed, bloody angry, cry with her.
All at once it came, that wave of sorrow I had been longing for. I was happy it came and at once ripped apart by grief that at 32 years old I had never felt. Our relationship was a complicated one, so of course why would her passing not be? Complicated in the fact that I didn’t know how to feel, angry with myself for not being a better daughter. Wasting so much time. Feeling sorry that she didn’t evolve into the person she had always wanted to be until the last two years of her life, you see, it took her to be facing death until she ever truly lived. But I was thankful for the tears, thankful that there was now the liquid proof that I loved her.
Since that day…a week ago, longer it seems. I have cried most days, every day in-fact and I almost welcome the tears. I imagine them to be her soft, smoky hands, caressing my face, saying “oh Tammy darling, everything will be alright” and even through the tears, or perhaps because of them, I know it will be.