She was

I’ve come home and my mother isn’t here.

Yesterday I didn’t think about it very much, yesterday was the day after flying here and it was all about getting our bearings and getting settled in, lots of practicalities to sort out, plus simply being very tired after the flight, plus registering that yes, it really is very hot here right now, and…

Today is the day when normally I’d be saying I’d better go visit because she’d be wondering why I hadn’t come to see her yet.

This is when it starts to sink in.

There would have been a phone call yesterday, there would have been the “when do I see you” and – yes, all that pressure and all those expectations that came with the mother-daughter bond. No, we weren’t close, but she was my mother.

She was the one person in the world who I knew would always be happy to see me.

God knows I tried all the possible ways of testing that, over the years. When I was a teenager I started on a path that looks, with hindsight, as though I’d made a list of “things that won’t please your mother” and methodically went through that list – and totally without trying to hide any of it from her.

There wasn’t anything I could do which would make her stop loving me.

Her love for me wasn’t mushy or sentimental. (I don’t think we ever used the L-word between us.)

I guess from her point of view, she tried to express it in practical ways, by giving me things – the only trouble being that since my teens I felt she didn’t know me well enough to know what I would or wouldn’t like, so this method didn’t work very well. She’d knit me a jumper in some vile shade of blue and say: I know you like blue. Or buy me a blouse that was similar to a style she’d seen me wearing but it would be in a horrible shiny polyester or something. Even with food, she’s so often get it nearly right but somehow cringingly wrong.

So I’d go to visit with very mixed feelings. I’d be looking forward to seeing her, but I wouldn’t be looking forward to a lot of what that involved.

And now, this is what’s glaringly missing.

Instead of going to visit my mother, I’ve been talking on the phone with my niece and with my brother about the details of our visit to the cemetery tomorrow, arranging timing and transport and who might or might not be also coming and what we might do afterwards and my mother isn’t there and she isn’t going to be there and it’s beginning to sink in and to hurt all over again. And I know tomorrow is going to hurt, and I’d quite like to wrap myself up in some kind of cocoon and not experience it but I know I have to experience it, the visit to my mother’s grave and that painful first time visiting her flat and her not being there.

end of rambling. no, no particular point to this post, just needing to verbalise my feelings.

I’m tempted to close comments but I won’t, I’m just going to say: please don’t try to offer me any advice, and please please please don’t tell me about your own experiences of bereavement. Not right now. Also: please don’t try to give me any reasons why this isn’t so bad, she died at a good age, she’s at peace now, focus on the good memories, yada yada yada. And no, you don’t know how I feel. I know people mean well when they say all these things but I really really really am not in a place where I can cope with any more of that right now. Thanks for understanding – or, if you don’t understand, thank you for respecting my wishes anyway.

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