I’ve been away for a while, finishing things, moving things around, starting things.
I think that probably applies equally to the physical and mental stuff going on. So I apologise for my absence.
Physically I’ve decided that I have a first draft of the novel, and set it to one side, which feels uncomfortable. Already I can see so many things that need to be done to it, and even a couple of scenes that still need to be written or made longer, or developed, but I’ve set it to one side for a month (a luxury with so little time left to play with) and I’m coming back to it as soon as I leave work (which is next Friday – eek).
I’ve also completed a mural in the nursery, which now looks a lot more like a nursery, so there is a giant painting of a scene from Green Eggs and Ham up on one of the walls, waiting for a small person’s approval. I mentioned on Facebook how as I started I could almost hear Mum telling me how I could make life easier for myself, and started a maelstrom of opinion on how Mum would have reacted. It’s strange, because I think I already know how she would react, (most of them were wrong – I think), and my sister and my dad were more vocal than me in saying something, I just let it go to be honest, but the truth is, I wish I heard her voice. I would do anything to get a hint of her talking in my ear about what I might be making more tricky than necessary. The mural ended up making me happy, because I’d always wanted to do it, and sad, because I called her out and she didn’t come.
Missing Mum has changed over the last few months. It’s still raw. I can’t talk about her without crying, even though it feels faintly ridiculous, when I might be recalling the most banal things.
I don’t talk about her all that often, which isn’t a conscious decision, in fact I try and mention her as often as I can, but still, it takes me by surprise, the crying.
I also get these moments of sadness, mainly when I’m on my own, and driving, thinking of how much she would have loved to be a Grandma again, how excited she would be by my pregnancy.
The other day I drove past an advert for afternoon teas on my way to work, and had the thought that it would have been fun to do that together once I’m on maternity leave, and the next thing I knew I was in floods of tears, so that I could hardly focus on the road.
It would have been her birthday yesterday, and I actually cancelled things in case it hit me like a tonne of bricks, but it didn’t, not really. It hit me like something, little needles of absence maybe.
What I thought of today, was the difference between losing people quickly and losing people slowly. We had three months to say goodbye to Mum, and even though we thought we had six, and even though I’m missing her horribly, we did get to say goodbye properly, we got to say everything we felt and she got the chance to say everything she felt, and there was closure and love and all the things you’d hope for.
At the same time as that my Gran, her mum, was falling deeper into dementia, which is a slow loss. Because she’s still there sometimes. She’s disappearing more and more, but the Gran we know still comes back from time to time, and when eventually she dies (she’s 93, it’s sad, but not awful) I worry I’ll have never said goodbye, because there was no one moment of leaving. And worse than that (and she’s happy still, so I don’t know if it is worse really, not for her) my memory of her is being shaped by this slow absence, so that the things I remember about Gran are the things that still show up from time to time. Her surreal sense of humour which now makes her indecipherable to anyone outside the family, but still completely logical to us, the pictures she has always made out of the world, which again, have become abstract now, but still make sense once you put yourself in Gran’s shoes. She’s cut out the explanations for what she’s talking about, but it’s just a shortcut to the same end, and if you know her well enough it all still makes sense.
Her absence hasn’t hit me yet, and I can’t decide if it’s sadder that it might never do that, because the hurt has to mean something. This pain of loss over my mum isn’t something I’d give up to have her gone and not missed.