Yesterday marked 1,000 days since the love of my life died on December 13, 2017 at 1:10 a.m. One. Fucking. Thousand!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ideally this post should have gone up yesterday, but I have another post going up tomorrow to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and it would be overkill to have a post yesterday, today and tomorrow. So here we are.
Some days it feels like December 13, 2017 was just moments ago. Other days it feels like I have lived 1,000 lives since my mum died that fateful December at 1:10 a.m.
One thing I have learnt with absolute certainty in these 1,000 – now 1,001 – days is that healing from grief is not a linear process. Some days my grief is barely noticeable, like the sun hidden behind clouds on a rainy day. On those days there is even a rainbow in my sky as I go about life with genuine happiness in my heart and soul. I still think about my mum, but on those days my grief moves behind other things instead of always being in front of them. Other days my grief is like a toddler throwing a tantrum, not giving me a minute’s peace as it demands my undivided attention. On those days I breakdown and cry like it is December 13, 2017 all over again.
1,000 1,001 days since my mum died I have launched my blog after years of procrastination, sunk into and overcome depression, been promoted to Media Director in three years’ time (one of the last promises I made to my mum) and fallen deeply in love with the most incredible man. I have also cried hard, laughed harder, lost friends and made new ones, lost weight, won a flash fiction writing competition and had my story published in Yummy Magazine, bought my first car and travelled to Cape Town to see Ed Sheeran in concert.
Some days I know that just because my mum is not here does not mean she is really gone. Grey’s Anatomy taught me that. On those days I know deep in my heart that my mum is watching over me and just because she is not physically present on earth does not mean she missed anything that happened in my life in the
1,000 1,001 days she has been dead. Other days knowing that is not good enough for me. On those days I want nothing more than to pick up the phone and call my mum the minute I receive any bit of good news because she was my biggest cheerleader and the person I would call first when I had good news to share. On those days I want to be able to go home when I have had a shitty day and have my mother hug me and tell me everything is going to be okay. On those days I even miss her telling me off when I was the one on the wrong, because even when my mother told me off it was always from a place of love. Now the only place of love I have regarding my mother is in my heart, my memories, her photographs and other people who also knew and loved her.
Some days I know that even though my mum is not alive on this earth, she is alive in my heart and that is okay with me. I carry my mum in my heart and that is one of the major reasons why I continually work on mitigating the flaws that get in the way of me becoming the best possible version of myself. If my mum is going to live in my heart then I need it to be good, kind and true; just like she was. Other days I can only think FUCK. THAT. SHIT!! Why is it that person X’s mum is still alive and mine is only “alive in my heart”? Why? How does God pick and choose whose mother gets to live to a ripe old age and whose, like mine, does not live long enough to see her 60th birthday? Make it make sense!
Some days I know that my mum is absolutely ecstatic about my relationship. My boyfriend is gentle, loyal, affectionate, sweet, caring, attentive, loving, tender, patient, genuine, thoughtful, nice, understanding, compassionate … basically every single thing my mum’s husband is not. One day when I was in lower primary school, after my father had beaten my mother and left the house, like a tornado with zero regard for the destruction it leaves behind, my mother looked me dead in the eye and said, “Lwile don’t ever get married.” Almost 20 years later I asked my mum whether she really meant what told me that day. She clarified that when she spoke that day it was from a place of anguish and went on to retract her statement by saying that if I find a good man I should definitely go ahead and get married to him.
Some days I know that, even though the two have never met, my mum loves my boyfriend and is delighted for me because I am going to have the best husband ever! And when the time comes my kid(s) are going to have the best father ever because as I said my boyfriend is everything my father was not. Our kid(s) will not be raised in an environment of fear like I was. Our kid(s) will grow up in a home that will be nothing like the one I grew up in. It will be filled with love, joy, goodness and laughter, and I know my mum knows that and is thrilled for me. Other days I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that my mum will never actually meet my boyfriend in real life. Like, never ever?!?! On those days I remember how, being the firstborn, my mum would often tell me that she cannot wait to dance to Mwana wa Mberi at my wedding. On those days it downright breaks my heart to know that dream of my mother’s, a dream that can be replaced by no other because she is the only mother I will ever have, died with her.
The year my mum died she said to me, “Lwile I must have grandchildren. Whether I am in this world or the next.” Some days I am okay with the fact that my mum was aware she might not live long enough to have any grandchildren in this world. Other days I get so fucking angry at how God can be so unfair when deciding whose mum gets to live long enough to be a grandma and whose does not. On those days it downright breaks my heart to know that my kid(s) will only know of their maternal grandmother from photographs and the stories I, and others who knew my mum, will tell.
I doubt there will ever be a more earth-shattering moment in my life than the death of my mum. She was the love of my life and so for a year after she died I let my newfound grief become my main identity. That suffocating, all-consuming grief you experience when your mum dies is what inspired me to start The Mother Of All Losses tag on the blog. That expression is one most of us have used at some point but only when your mum dies do you understand how that simple expression is laden with gravitas.
That being said, parents should not have to bury their children and so as much as it hurts, my mum dying before me is simply the natural order of life. Some days I take comfort in that fact, other days knowing it does nothing whatsoever to ease my pain.
But as much as The Mother Of All Losses is an earth-shattering loss, the grief is not meant to stay.
1,000 1,001 days down. A lifetime to go.