Secondly, there is a lovely music maker from the Netherlands that I frequently listen to (am listening to right now actually) called eevee. She makes beats that are truly beautiful to me (which can be listened to here) and as a tagline to my current favourite of hers, the beat-tape called ‘Seeds’ which I absolutely adore, she spoke openly about how difficult it was for her after her father passed away, trying to find positivity in her life.
Both of these women moved me a lot, and I found their choice to give words to their experiences to be very brave.
I wanted to follow suit, though it is a bit scary to talk openly. I still wanted to.
It is a funny thing, but awful stuff happens all the time yet it is not often spoken about, even amongst friends.
There is a point after a tragedy where you are still thinking about it every day, but you know the rest of the world isn’t, it just keeps rolling onwards.
Even when you go through a terrible experience with other people, there will always be times when sharing is not possible.
Because of this, I think grief can be a very isolating experience.
It made me want to share a little about my mum. She died last year.
My mum had cancer and she chose not to pursue traditional medical treatments. She didn’t really believe in them, I guess.
I accept this. Everyone has the right to make choices about their own body.
I was very angry while she was dying, and perhaps on and off for a long time afterwards.
I think maybe I’m not anymore though.
Watching her go was very hard. I didn’t blame her for not choosing to get treatments. I understood who my mum was and that it wasn’t something she could do, within herself. She was very intelligent, a very very smart and strong woman, and her life and been about the discovery and understanding of spirituality, through her own study of religions, spiritualism, mediums, anything and everything. It was what she loved and breathed, her entire life long. It was something I never thought about much, growing up, I guess I just accepted these things but I never really spent time thinking about it all deeply. It wasn’t really my thing.
But I understood it enough to know my mum was not able to choose a traditional approach to treatment. I feel like it would perhaps have been like negating her life’s work, which was the pursuit of there being something more than...just this. I think maybe it would have been like living her entire life with one purpose, only to back away at the very end.
So I got it.
But for a long time I couldn’t really forgive her anyway, I guess. Mainly for not realising that what was happening to her was real. That she really was dying. She chose to do it without taking painkillers at any point, which is an indescribably hard thing to watch, someone you love wasting away slowly, agonisingly.
As her daughter, I think I expected her to protect me from it. Instead I watched it all, from start to finish.
It changed everything.
But such is life.
My mum did die. After five days of hallucinating and being delirious and, I think, still not really accepting that she was dying, on the final day when she could no longer speak, she did hold my hand, my husband’s hand. She hugged my father. And I could see in her eyes that she knew, finally, what was going to happen.
I think the hardest thing about an experience like this, is that it is so unlike anything you expect. It is not like in the movies. Death is messy and horrible and harsh. It looks awful and smells awful and a person in pain has no time or energy for the people around them. They don’t have time for wise parting words, advice, statements of love or writing letters to be given to their loved ones in the future.
But that is just the way it is. My mantra, after she was gone, dealing with the aftermath; It is what it is.
Sometimes life is shit.
But sometimes it is not.
During the times that I felt very angry, I was told two things that I think, finally, finally, helped me let go of the anger.
One from my husband, the other from my father.
My mum was not happy in the last few years of her life. Not all the time, maybe not fundamentally so, even though we had many wonderful times. I think she had many regrets, many ideas she did not explore. I think my mum spent her entire life looking for something and I suppose maybe she didn't find it.
It made me angry because, to me, her death proved that nothing she believed during her life was real. It changed my mind about many things, and it made me wonder what her life was for.
For quite a while, that anger was immense.
My husband though, told me that she created me, and he thinks I am lovely. He said she developed me and loved me and raised me. And I exist to experience life because she existed.
And he said that was reason enough.
It calmed my mind.
Another time, when I was feeling very angry at her choices, at what I had to watch when she died, my father asked me if I would have wanted a different mum.
And his question washed everything else away.
I loved her.
And she loved me. Fiercely.
I am lucky she was my mum. I wouldn’t want anyone else as my mum ever, no matter how she died, no matter what happened at her ending.
After that I think my anger left. I think it is gone now.
In two months it will have been a year since my mum died, and tomorrow it is her first birthday without her here.
There have been a lot of things to work through since she left, and probably writing such a long post is part of that process. It has nearly been a year now, time to let the anger go. My mum’s life was a whole lot bigger and more important than her death, and as more time passes that fact will become stronger and stronger in my mind as the hard stuff fades.
I still miss her. But that is something entirely different. It is sadness and it is not destructive.
Missing someone is a good thing.
I miss her because I love her, and that is healthy.
Weirdly enough, even though what happened was the worst thing I have ever experienced, I actually like myself now after experiencing it far more than I liked myself before I did.
It changed my entire view on the world, made me embrace the bad along with the good instead of always trying to stick my head in the sand.
By accepting the shit stuff in this world I find it somehow easier to enjoy the good stuff, and my journey ever since my mum first got sick has just been about trying to find the happiness and positivity in life.
Something I learned is that happiness is truly in the small things. And in your mindset.
So I am determined that I will always try my best.
I love living. The world is a beautiful place.
I hope you love living too.