And all I want to do when my mind is wandering off, off into ‘fairy land’ as you used to call it, I imagine and wish and want to hold you in my arms; daughter to mother, I want to hold you and reassure it will all be okay, everything will be okay, just like you had with me on so many different occasions throughout so many of the years you were here. And now I don’t know if the person I envisage is you or if it is the part of me I lost when you were gone, I don’t know if all I’m imagining is cuddling the child within myself ensuring her that we will be okay; that mum gave the little girl enough strength to see the adult through the years.
The grief hits at the most inconsequential times. It makes sense when life hurts a little harder and the pain of not having you feels a little stronger when I’m hurt by someone or things are a little more stressful, or big, exciting things are happening and you’re not here at home to share them with at the end of a long day.
But then there’s the moments out of the blue, when I’m driving home from the shops and my mind has been everywhere else or I’m happily singing along to my favourite song of the moment, and I catch a glimpse of the moon and I think of you, because I always think of you when I look at the night sky, and I’m crying, I’m blubbering and I’m a mess and I can hardly breathe.
Or I’ve been on holiday, and I’m feeling on top of the world and all of a sudden I’m under it, and I can’t breathe as I watch the waves crash into the shore and I wonder where in the fuck you are and why I feel so alone.
Or, like this morning, when I’m sitting on the fucking toilet, and all of a sudden I get this rush of emotions and I’m crying and I’m rocking back and forth. While I’m on the goddamned toilet. So I’m simultaneously laughing and crying because I miss my fucking mother but, well, I’m on the fucking toilet.
When I’m disappointed by people in life, when people do things to hurt me or I feel as if no one is there, and it only intensifies the loss of you.
When it’s been close to five years and you can barely yell in someone’s face that the reason you feel so out of it is simply because you miss your mother. I just want my mum.
I don’t even like my tea the way you used to make it for me, and sometimes that alone makes me hurt. But there are days where I will make it exactly how we used to drink it, and I could swear that as I sit down with my cup of tea and the latest book I’m reading, I can taste your laughter and I can hear your happiness. Wherever you are.
I have lost what I considered my entire universe, but in a heartbreakingly satisfying way, even that is wrong. You were not my entire universe, because I am, and I know that you would be glad to finally hear me say that.
And while you are, singlehandedly, one half of the reasons I am here, almost solely the reason I am who I am, and the strength that is pushing me ahead; I am learning, every day, that I am. I am. I am.
Because of you, but mostly, because of me.
I miss you, ma. And I wish, more than anything, I was taking you out for breakfast for crepes with lemon and sugar and a pot of English breakfast tea, and we were laughing together and I was telling you about the things I find hard but in comparison aren’t that hard at all; because that’s a wonderland, that’s in a different world that unfortunately you and I will never know. In this world, you’re permanently frozen in time at 50 and you are memories, you are photographs and funny stories and a hot milo with six marshmallows, you are the perfume that I still search every store for to keep your smell. You were here, but you are not, and there is evidence of your life everywhere, everything shows you lived and loved but there are moments I can’t remember your laugh or hearing you say ‘I love you, kiddo.’
Because in this world, we don’t get to sit together on your 55th birthday and toast to another 40 years of life together.
Instead, I retreat to my room, and I retreat to my words, and I attempt to put my entire heart on this empty page to give other people even a glimpse of what I am feeling. To hopefully give the people fighting similar battles the realisation that they are not alone, as much as I am not alone.
I miss you, and I thank you, for the years I had with you, for the years I have ahead of me, and most importantly, for leaving me with the most amazing family, as fucked up as we all are.
Here’s to the first of February, the day the most wonderful woman in my world was born. Happy birthday, Mumma Rozza. I toast my tea to you.