Ten years. 120 months. 520 weeks. 3652 days (leap years included). It feels like a lifetime but in reality it’s not even a third of my life. Time sort of stood still on January 18th 2009 and my life changed forever.
I’ve written about my Mum before and I wasn’t going to this year, but here I am. I felt like I needed to write this as I need it all out of my head – I’ve been in my head all day and it’s not the best place to be at the moment.
When you lose a parent it sucks. I mean it really sucks. There’s no way to prepare you for just how much it fucking hurts – almost like someone has put their hand into your chest and squeezed your heart until it feels like it will literally break, before moving onto your lungs and sucking the very breath from your body. It’s a physical pain that feels like it will never go away, but it does … sort of.
The gut-wrenching physical pain dulls into an ache – an ache that’s always there but you learn to live with it. I do manage to live with it … until we get to the anniversary. The first anniversary was surreal and hurt like hell, and each year I get unbelievably sad and I hate it. Knowing we were approaching the ten year anniversary has been bothering me for months and now it’s here. It feels like the landmark and I don’t know how to explain it. Because we don’t have a grave and haven’t scattered her ashes yet (I’ll scatter them when my Dad passes as they want to be scattered together), I have nowhere to go to mark the day. I’ve bought some pink flowers, like I do every year, and I’ve spent a lot of today thinking about my Mum and what life has been like without her over the past decade.
Life is pretty shitty at the moment – Mick’s Dad is dying from lung cancer and yesterday we were told my Dad has skin cancer (he’s currently awaiting tests to see if it has spread). It feels like we are drowning in cancer and there’s no bright spot on the horizon. We managed a few days away at Christmas but neither of us really switched off – it’s pretty much impossible when you’re dreading the phone ringing.
I hope that having a partner who knows what it is like to see cancer take your parent helps Mick a little bit … I didn’t have that and it was a weird lonely feeling that was difficult. Seeing what is happening to his Dad is bringing back all sorts of bad memories of the last few weeks of Mum’s life and it’s hard not to make comparisons. I’m really hoping that we have a positive outcome with my Dad as I’m not sure how much more we can take.
There are some parts of the past decade that I really wish Mum had been here for, and others that I’m glad she wasn’t … but then maybe if she had been here then the bad things might not have even happened. I hope that Mum would like the woman I’ve become and forgive the mistakes that I have made. My Dad tells me that I’m getting more and more like her and there are times that I see that – Mum didn’t take shit from people and I tend to be the same.
I know she’d be thrilled that I am still with Mick – he’s been my rock over the last ten years and I hope that I can be the same for him in the coming weeks, months and years. Seeing him hurt breaks my heart but I can’t fix it and that is tough. All I want is to spare him the pain that I have been through and I can’t do that.
I’m not even sure where I am going with this … I think I just needed to word vomit for a bit. I do wonder what Mum would make of the world today. She wasn’t particularly political but I know the whole Brexit saga would have driven her mad and she’d have strong views on Trump definitely. I think she’d love the whole blogging lark but hate the negative side of social media and Twitter would confuse the shit out of her. She’s missed a lot – grandchildren, pets, divorces, illnesses … my Dad having to use a walking stick (that would amuse her), but I do like to think she keeps a little eye on us.
So I’ve survived ten years and I know that I’ve managed it the best way that I can (probably not the healthiest way admittedly), and that one day I might make it through the 18th January without wanting to scream and shout at the world.