Today marks eighteen years since my mother passed away. This means that I have had more life without her than I have had with her here.
I have had major milestones that most people would share with their mother without her. I found that getting married and having my baby were the ones that I missed her the most. I have a wonderful step mother and she came wedding dress shopping with me, but I was still very aware that she was not there. I did all of my wedding shopping on eBay in the end so that I didn’t have to feel like there was a big part of the experience that I was lacking.
When I was pregnant I wanted to ask her so many questions about her experiences. I asked my dad but he either didn’t know or couldn’t remember. Everyone said that I carried really small, I wanted to know if she did too, looking back through old pictures didn’t really work as she wore enormous jumpers and smocks during her pregnancies. These days there are loads of internet forums that you can ask questions to, I have a wonderful network of friends and family that are super supportive and that I can always go to for advice.
It just isn’t the same though.
So many things make me think of her at the strangest times now. I don’t miss her everyday anymore. And that is healthy and normal, but sometimes it makes me feel bad. I was working at the pub last weekend and they played a song that I didn’t even know was a real song, I thought it was just something weird that she used to sing whilst cooking. It’s called Gordon is a moron and its by a band called Jilted John (I looked it up when I got home) I nearly cried behind the bar, it’s a very upbeat punk song, I must have looked like a total lunatic.
I don’t go to her grave very much anymore either. She isn’t there, and I find that every time I do go there, I sit next to her gravestone, talking to the air and have a cry. I don’t know if this helps me or makes me feel better, it is just what always seems to happen.
I always had a place that I would talk to her, but it is gone now. Before I write this, I know that it is going to sound strange, but it is the truth and at the time was comforting to me. There used to be a nightclub in Southampton called The Nexus. I used to go there every week. Now, it may have been the copious amounts of booze and chemicals that were rushing around my system in place of food and sleep, but there was a toilet cubicle in the ladies that had a corner seat in it opposite the toilet. I would go and sit in there and talk to my mum.
That’s right, a toilet cubicle in a place that she had never been, whilst I was hammered (and peeing).
The club closed in 2007. I went to the toilet and said goodbye to my mum all over again. I cried and cried. The place that I could go and talk to her was demolished. It is a block of flats now.
I sometimes talk to her when I am driving. But as time goes by I talk to her less and less. As each anniversary comes and goes, the acute pain of losing her is lessening.
I can’t smell the Body shop’s coconut scent without thinking of her, she would always ask for the soap as a present. Every time that I drink Appletiser I think back to when we would go shopping together on a Saturday, I would always drink it and we would both have cheesecake.
I still have a jewellery box of hers with her earrings in it. I can never wear them as all of the holes in my ears are too big, but I like to get them out and look at them. Every time mum had a baby, my dad would buy her a ring to celebrate. I have the “Aimee ring”. I wore it for twelve years after she died. It doesn’t really suit me, and it isn’t a pretty ring (sorry dad). I keep it safe in my jewellery box now. I want to still have it but I don’t need to wear it anymore.
Moving on from such a huge loss is hard. If she was still alive she would have turned sixty two years old last week. That still sounds so young, too young to not still be here. She died of cancer. It was a hereditary bowel cancer, my grandfather died of the same thing. My siblings and I will all need to be screened the older that we get. My screenings should start this year.
Watching someone that you love slowly die, painfully, when they are full of life and clinging to the idea that her faith in Jesus would save her and that she would be healed, is something that I would not wish on anyone. She believed right up to the last that she would be saved. She didn’t want to go into hospital so she died at home, not peacefully slipping away with pain relief, but slowly, gasping and rasping for breath, feeling it all.
That day is burned into my mind forever. So even though on a day to day basis I can live my life and not think about her all of the time, when today comes around each year, I am catapulted back to her bedroom and the horror that I witnessed in there.
I wonder what she would think of me now. I hope that she would like me. I wonder if I would still be the way that I am if she hadn’t died. I wish that she could have met her grandson.
I would give anything just for five more minutes with her.
Although I don’t have a religious faith or believe in an afterlife, I secretly hope that there is one, and that somehow she can see me and watch how things are going.