I used to think I knew what it was to miss someone until my mum died. I used to think speaking about my late mum was hard until I started writing The Grief Diaries.
If there is something I hate saying is “my late mum.” Late for what? Yes I know that when you want to use the word late to mean dead it must appear directly before the noun that it describes. But I find it sooo stupid. Whoever it was could not come up with something better?? English is real dumb sometimes. I would much rather just say “my mum” but then people who do not know me think she is still alive. Awkward!
But, I digress.
I took that sceengrab in early October. If you look closely you will see the cursor (or whatever it is called) placed after spends as I was just about to revise it to spent. I am yet to get used to speaking about my mum in past tense. Every time I have to go back and change from present to past tense something deflates inside me.
I do not always know whether to refer to my mum in past or present tense. Some tenses are easy. E.g. my mum was such a babe. My mum’s personality was luminous. Some are not so easy. E.g. is my mum the best person I will ever know or was my mum the best person I will ever know? While working on my mum’s obituary I initially wrote “Jane was the mother to” and one of my brother’s suggested I change it to “Jane is the mother to” because even though she has passed away she will always be my mum. Which makes sense. But when I try to decipher stuff like ‘is my mum the love of my life or was my mum the love of my life’ is when things get really confusing.
I think what makes it tricky is yes, she will always be my mum but in an emotional and spiritual sense, not a physical one. I can only see her beautiful face in photographs. I am unable to feel the warmth of her embrace. I have not heard her voice or her laugh for a year. It is a bit difficult to reconcile what I feel in my heart – that she will always be my mum – with my new reality that feels motherless as I cannot pick up the phone and call her. I cannot drop by the house to see her after work or on weekends. She is alive in my heart but she is not alive on this earth so my heart and my head are currently existing in two different realms. To make things worse my heart is feeding my subconscious and my head is feeding my reality.
Been sitting eyes wide open behind these four walls hoping you’d call
It’s just a cruel existence like it’s no point hoping at all
That lyric from I Don’t Wanna Live Forever by Taylor and Zayn really makes me think about my mum. I know my mum is dead. How can I not? To think otherwise would be crazy. My head knows that. But sometimes it is inconceivable that she is dead. I still catch myself shaking my head in disbelief from time to time. My mum is dead?! Just like that?! How?! Like, dead dead? That is how my heart feels. The two are not in sync. My heart is “sitting eyes wide open behind these four walls hoping you’d call.” But my head knows there’s “no point hoping at all.”
The biggest drawback to the misalignment between my heart and my head is that I keep dreaming of my mum. I had mentioned this some time back to my BFF and she replied that she would give anything to have those dreams more often as they are always so enlightening. They were enlightening for me as well at first. Now they are just disconcerting. I will elaborate on this with a post I have planned for next week.
Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my mum’s death but my new reality is yet to sink in. My heart and my head are not speaking to each other and as a result I have two truths inside me. My mum is alive in my heart but dead in my head. What a mess.