In this issue I will be focusing on my emotions and the start of my recovery from an incredibly heart breaking loss. I will also talk a little bit about my relationship with Mum, how it developed and how it will be missed. An inspiration to so many, especially me. To live in the moment, little steps, search for the smile… all the things that help me daily, all things that came from Mum. Big dreams Mum, big dreams.
My route was blocked in 3 places. And because I was delayed in leaving and an emotional mess, I hadn’t checked an evening journey…
I had to detour through the countryside, narrow lanes and nearly hit a deer. Then my junction was closed when leaving one motorway to join another. It took 30 mins to drive to the next junction, turn round and re-join my route. Then leaving the next motorway, that junction was shut, extending my drive by a further 20 mins. It really did feel like Mum was making me drive carefully, I can’t explain it, but if felt like she was with me until I got to my family…
Then as I arrived at Mum’s, it kind of still is Mum’s, late at night, around 11:30pm, all my emotions were amplified by the distraught looks on my stepdad and sisters faces. Almost definitely mirrored by me. This will be a memory that doesn’t fade easily. And as we greeted each other with embraces, no words, there was a fresh round of tears for us all. I can’t remember huge amounts other than feelings, my brain probably doesn’t want me too…
Mum passed on the 23rd March, 4 days before mothers day in the UK and 10 days before her 55th Birthday. That didn’t make a tough time any easier. Neither did managing Mum’s biggest wishes in dealing with her death. They were to get the burial (it wasn’t a funeral) and the wake done as fast as possible and to make sure her life was celebrated at both events. No black was allowed at her burial or wake. This increased the pressure to us as a family, especially my stepdad, who felt he was letting Mum down with some of the dates and time frames we were given.
All of these things added to the peaks and troughs of our emotions. The house had more and more visitors. Sometimes the last thing you want is compassion. It makes the impact of your loss reverberate in your soul. Your own emotions are hard enough to deal with. Yet, and more importantly, it is important for you to let these people show their love and compassion, no matter how hard it is to accept.
Not only does it show respect, but they are grieving the loss of someone they cared about, or loved as well. Empathy and understanding was not always as good as it could have been from me, understandably, but it was something I was very conscious about. I endeavoured to show compassion and love back to people sharing their emotions with me. In real life or virtually.
The burial was perfect, poignant and painful. It was incredibly emotional but exactly what Mum wanted. Everyone was there in a Rugby Union shirt, or something bright. It was limited to family and 2 friends who are family. We played the 2 songs that Mum wanted. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Jerusalem. We video called one sister who was travelling in South Africa, another that lives in New Zealand and family in the US. We dropped yellow roses on a bamboo woven casket. The burial spot sits under The South Downs nr Clayton, England. It is a natural burial ground and the family later sowed wild seed flowers and daffodil bulbs in the burial plot. No words were said on the day. Simple and beautiful, all whilst the sun shined.
The wake happened on the 23rd April, one month to the day after mum passed. So many anniversaries, parallels and events that will never escape my mind. I know the recollections will continue to grow fonder. And I can see daffodils without tearing up now, they were one of Mum’s favourite flowers. I know these emotions change over time, I wouldn’t say any deep rooted emotional loss ever becomes easy as such, but it becomes not as hard. I digress, I have done it a lot in this issue…
The wake. What a colourful extravaganza. Mum had built a play list with us all. We hired a room for 9 hours. There was food and so much alcohol. Dancing and more than a few tears, even though Mum said no tears. I didn’t see any tense moments, but other than that, it was a proper party. It had everything but the punch up. Crying on the stairs, alcohol all over the floor, people dancing well, people dancing badly and as we left, someone throwing up in the toilets. Mum would have fully approved.
I wrote the below poem whilst waiting for people to arrive. We turned up with an hour to set up, had it done in about 10 mins, and then were sitting there, twiddling our thumbs. without doubt the hardest part of my day.
The way I was lifted by family and friends during this time was amazing. In my darker moments, there was always someone there to listen, to let me express or even to allow me to be a bit of d!@#. I wont ever be able to say thank you enough and I am so glad I let people in, I cannot imagine where I would have been if I hadn’t of learnt the life lessons I had in the last 5 years.
The response on Twitter was mind blowing. The values I want to show, were visible to me in so many ways and embodied by so many of you. Our mint at CryptoGoonz had a surge, the messages sent visibly on Twitter were incredible, in terms of replies and tags. The DM’s were overwhelming. Over 300 personal and heartfelt messages. Some sharing things they hadn’t shared with any one else before. This was hard, emotional, humbling and incredibly uplifting. Every single one got a personal reply from me. It was the least I could do, to recognise the values I push and talk about all the time.
I lost more than my Mum. I lost a friend, a sounding board, a confidant, a problem solver, my emotional rock and more. Mum had me when she was 18. My childhood wasn’t the easiest, the eldest of 5 for a large period of time (then 6 for a few years), 8 of us in a small house, with both Mum and Stepdad working a lot to keep a roof over all our heads. I am also aware it could have been much, much tougher. The upshot is, my relationship was strained with Mum, from 12/13 until my mid twenties for a variety of reasons, in which I played my part. I was by no stretch, perfect.
In the last 4 years, we kind of made this journey of self discovery together. Found more of our reasons to be, in slightly different ways. Encouraging each others self growth all the way. The cancer was hard. It was a 2.5 yr battle. No remissions due to the cancer type, but there were times when there was no cancer… Looking back we needed the hope, but at the same time it really does take it’s emotional toll. I wouldn’t wish Mum’s journey on anyone, 5 operations, chemo, radiotherapy and much, much more. I am glad she is at peace and no longer has to battle the pain.
All of the above made the FCancer event interesting as well - that will be for a future issue though.
I had every intention of writing a bit more about NFT’s, but when I started… and well, I guess these were the words I needed and wanted to write. I let the emotional side of me feel what it wants, and then I do my best to express that for me. There is so much more I could write about Mum, maybe another time. As ever, thank you for reading.