I’ve been thinking about writing this post all day today. The title says it all really. 25 years ago today, my life changed forever. This post isn’t about seeking ‘I’m so sorry that happened’ messages because I’ve heard a few of the sorrys over the years. It’s about getting some of my thoughts out in the open.
25 years ago today I went to a playscheme at a local youth club during the summer holidays. Earlier that week I had asked my mum to let me go to the playscheme rather than go with her to her job looking after children. She reluctantly agreed that day but I was really excited because the playscheme had organised a painting session to create a Chinese dragon which would be then used during a family summer day. I loved painting.
That day I kissed my mum goodbye before she went to work. I think I said love you to her but can’t be sure. An hour or so after I got dropped off, one of the playscheme leaders came and got me saying I needed to go with her. She looked a bit upset but I thought nothing of it until I saw my brother with the police. I remember them saying mum had been in an accident and they were taking me home. At some stage I asked someone when I could go see my mum in hospital and at that time I didn’t know she had died on impact, walking out in the road to get to work and hit by a motorbike. I remember lots of crying and spending the first night, that night at my aunties, my mum’s sister.
The days all merge into one after that. Nobody ever taught me how to grieve, how you showed grief, how long and what form it would take. I remember being numb, then angry, then numb, then angry. I think people would call me well adjusted. I would say a combination of being able to hide my feelings and then, later, utilising coping strategies got me through.
Every year I enter a dark period. This year it started earlier but finished sooner. I don’t know why grief changes. It just does. I could say I think about mum every day. Unconsciously I do but it’s not often I allow her to creep into my conscious. It happens at moments when I least expect it and I’m unprepared often.
Sometimes I am prepared. Like my wedding day. I knew that my mum would be on my mind. I am forever grateful to my bridesmaids who were there with me during the getting ready process. They had been in my life since I was 5 so knew my mum and it really helped having someone who knew her there.
Someone said to me today, you must have some great memories of your mum. I do. Some are for me and otherwise I share with people. Like her reaction when I picked her favourite rose by accident (caught on camera!). When she spent hours on a Maid Marion outfit for the local parade in the village. When she had a loose tooth and insisted on referring to it as ‘Fred’. As it was hanging on by a thread….
I remember her hugs and her smile. I remember not being very impressed when she cut her hair into a cropped bob. One of the main reasons why I can never imagine cutting my hair. I remember her going to the pub with my dad on a Friday night. I remember her laugh and her kindness. I remember getting incredibly jealous when the children she looked after called her mum by accident.
Bereavement sometimes makes people forget that the people who died weren’t perfect. My mum wasn’t perfect but she was my mum and she was amazing. I look the spit of my mum and that makes me happy. At least I know what the future holds!
People say my mum will be proud of me and I think she will have been. I still get upset and it’s true that the feeling of loss can be pretty overwhelming still at times. I’m just better at showing it now. People tell me I’ve coped well and the façade sometime works. Sometimes I slip though and I rant. I’ve said ‘why me’ on a number of occasions. When listening to friends talking about arguments with their mum, on some occasions I have thought ‘at least you have a mum’. When people post things about their mum on Mother’s Day but add in ‘thinking of those that have lost their mum’ part of me thinks ‘really? are you not just thinking about your mum’. I make no apologies for my thoughts even though it’s unreasonable and I don’t expect people to stop talking to me about their mums.
Because that’s life. The only thing that is certain in this life is that we are born and then we die. The bit in between is the bit that changes. I wish I had my mum for longer but then that length of time would never be enough. I’d still be saying all of these things if she had lived for another 10, 20 years. I surround myself with people who are there for me. My husband, my family, my friends.
My mum’s name was Linda. She never had a middle name and this upset her for a long time. Her maiden name was Adams. We joked she was from the Addams Family.