It’s a funny thing, grief. At first when Mum died, I think the relief at her being out of pain and discomfort lessened my sadness that she was dead. But now weepiness overcomes me from time to time. It’s not the old-lady Mum that I miss so much – though she leaves a big hole in my life because I was very involved for the last ten years or so in looking after her, to an increasing degree. But more and more I remember what she was like when I was a girl. We were very close and used to laugh a lot together. I miss my younger Mum.
Today I went through the cards and letters we were sent when she died. There were 65 of these, which is quite a lot for a 90-year-old most of whose long-term friends are already dead. It was interesting to reread them – I really didn’t take them in at the time – but it was upsetting too. I’ve kept a few - the ones that said insightful things about her - but have firmly thrown most of the ones that just (kindly) expressed sympathy. We’re trying to cut down on clutter.
Part of the difficulty of this sort of grief – grief for someone of her age – is that it feels unreasonable. Being orphaned at the age of 62 is not exactly headline news. I was lucky to have her that long. But it’s more complicated than that. I’m sad because I miss her but also because she was still interested in life and didn’t want to die and also because of the sad fact that we must all die. It seems a poor system, though – yes – better than the alternative, I know.
And missing one’s children (sorry Anon, if you’re still reading) hurts because it’s unreasonable too. Of course they must fly the nest and of course they must be independent because Mr Life and I going to die one of those days and it would be terrible if they couldn’t cope on their own.
Well well. I like to spread a bit of Christmas cheer. (I think this has come on partly because of the imminence of Christmas without Mum. Also, we got delivery of a double bed today for the room that was Daughter 2’s and then Mum’s and now is just another spare room. Which will of course be useful when most of the family comes for Christmas. My brother and family used to stay with Mum and now will be with us – and that will be nice. But different.)
Meanwhile, more jollily, here's Daughter 2's gift to us today. Ho ho ho.
And here's ours to her. Why the match? (It's actually a pen.) Does she smoke? No, but I thought it was mildly amusing. Much like a gingerbread man wearing a Santa hat.
Now back to the piano practice, which as ever is driving me nuts. Why am I doing this? I could be lying in a nice warm bath reading a book and eating chocolate instead of making a big hash of Silent Night, which my teacher probably thought would put me in a Christmassy mood. Ha ha ha.