A Tribute to My Mother and My Sister....
And the birds keep singing like they know the score..
When loved ones leave you
I lost my sister in Nov.2010 and just six weeks on I lost my mother in January 2011. My sister had been diagnosed with cancer 1 and a half years prior to her death and we soon learned that it was terminal. It crushed our whole family. She was only 51 when she died and I never really saw my mum smile again after.
It hurts a great deal to be writing about something so close to my heart but since they are still close to it I want to express it. Grieving is a very long and difficult process and an idividual one too. I am a changed person today owing to losing two of the people I loved most in my life. The aftermath was truly shocking. A friend said to me once that grief is measured in accordance with how much love you felt for the person who died. My grief is immeasurable...
Two female friends now side by side..
The sadness that followed was immense
I was always close to my mother and sister Karen. From early years Karen and I developed a closeness that only two very like-minded people can. She was the eldest of three sisters, then my middle sister Mandy and myself being the youngest. I looked up to her from day one. Her love and loyalty towards me knew no boundaries. She had me firmly planted in her heart from the day I was born and I loved her for it. We grew together, played together, laughed together and cried together. She opened up her world to me and I happily jumped in, even sharing her friends with the generosity she was renowned for.
My mum and my sister were my living diaries. I shared my world with them both equally My sister told me of things that I didn`t know in the months before her death and some of those things were eyebrow raising but hilarious all the same. She was always known for her off beat sense of humour, never missing an opportunity to make you laugh. I nearly fell from my seat on countless occasions with her. My mother said the same. She was so unbelievably funny. Unlike myself who had only a small circle of friends, my sister made friends with ease and was very popular. She worked all her adult life and her circle of friends grew. Her closest one Suzanne being our favorite, a lovely, thoughtful, funny girl who the whole family accepted as "one of our own".
It`s cliche I know, but my sister truly did love life and grabbed it firmly with both hands. She was a party girl, she loved live shows, taking holidays abroad, singing, writing, reading. She enjoyed people, especially anybody quirky, because she was herself. Her whole life was there in colour with her storeys of events that had happened to her told with mesmorizing spark and punctuated with ample humour. I never knew a storyteller quite like my sister. I don`t suppose I ever will again. I loved her with everything I had and it hurts me to remember why...
She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS but she is NOT. All at once she is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity..— Anon
Stages of grief
- BBC - Future - Are there really five stages of grief?
People often talk about a set pattern to bereavement, but Claudia Hammond examines whether the evidence shows that everybody shares the same experience.
My mother and I - We were the best of friends!
A poem about how it feels without my mum (written by myself)
Here she finds me, windmill turning, burning memories, I can`t hold
Bought and sold, blood run cold, lonely in crowds, can`t unfold..
Hearing the words, hollow in meaning, echoing off the walls of their scheming
traitors and tricksters and ego`s abound, no beat to this drum, no heart in this town.
So, here she finds me, I sense but not see, her cool ability
as she binds me, with love sewn seams, of token, broken dreams
and paints me a smile, to go with what life means.
So I look but don`t see, applaud the monkeys, performing for me.
Cry, pause, rewind for the troubled at sea,
Wear the cloak of invisibility..
So here she find me, an inside out counterfeit of swallowed shit.
Pearls of wisdom rebounding as they hit.
Not willing to fight, not willing to quit
So here, she sees me and I sense, her, jumping to my defense
She`s dying with trying not to leave me there, as she drags me off the fence
The pain is immense, hazy moon filled clouds of intense
Auto fly above dark sea,
Only one mum
A very special lady.
Mums are the most significant women ever to feature in your life. They bring so much love and comfort that when they aren`t around any longer, you feel positively lost. Losing them is a major shock and extremely painful, however old they may be. When my mum died, I was a very lonely, and sad person who felt absolutely cheated at the time. I missed her achingly so and I wished her back to the point of near madness. I was devastated. The only consolation today, is that you don`t have to lose your mum twice!
One of mum`s favorites
One of the pictures above of my mum was taken on one of our many trips to the west country. My son was little when these were taken and absolutely adored her. We had all called my mum "frog eyes" when we were younger. This tradition passed over to the grandchildren who all affectionately called her "frog eyes" or "The frog" or just plain "Frog". Well what can I say, this lady was so much more than just my mum. She was my confidant, my friend, my idol, my world to be exact. The longest time mum and I ever spent apart in all my life was when I was away two weeks tops. She was full of advise, kindness and generosity. If you asked for one sausage be prepared for two, if you asked for a few buscuits be prepared to take the packet home with you. My son always joked with her when she said "help yourself" saying "ok how about the television nan". Truth is she would have given it to him if he had really wanted it. Mum and I clashed sometimes because she was so exacting in her standards, expecting people to reach her own and sometimes, well loads really, I fell short. My sister used to say she was a "pinnikity virgo". She was, and woe betide anyone who came between her and that perfectionists streak. Her ironing was in the neatest piles I have ever seen and I was scared of them because being clumsy I had to tread carefully. But laughter always took over with mum. You could reduce her to tears and laughter equally within seconds
My mum and I grew closer and closer throughout the years. I was her official carer in the last few years of her life. A role I took on with total love and loyalty, for mum had given me more in every way possible than anybody else I ever knew, and so giving back to her was easy. I loved her company. I enjoyed our times together. I loved hearing her say "put the kettle on love" because that was home...
One of Karen`s favorites..
A very lonely place indeed
After losing two very beautiful people so soon apart I was in turmoil. I hurt so much I prayed to have the pain taken off me because I knew I could break, and the feeling was very scarey. I felt very alone. Now who could I tell or trust enough to want to, now that my main female confidants had gone? I replayed their last days over and over and wondered for a while if I would ever allow any other memories of them a chance to surface. It was so very painfull to remember who they were before I lost them because I had a million memories combined and I felt stunned by them. I just could not process the thought of never seeing them again. I locked myself indoors for weeks after. What I wanted, was just to magic that time forward because I was stuck in a very dark pit of despair and I couldn`t feel warmth or take comfort from anybody. I tried to comfort myself by holding there belongings to me but even seeing there things around me just to served to remind me that everything was different now, and I hated that difference. I text messages to my sister on her mobile and I talked to them both aloud and frequently.
My son and my dad during this time were absolute godsends. My dad talked to me constantly on the phone and he as always put logic forward at every turn. His heart was breaking too and I knew that it was very hard for him, trying to hold me together while he was falling apart himself. My stepmother had died a few years before so he was now grieving for three people. I am in complete awe of my dad. He really is a wonderfull man who has a very logical. fare minded take on everything and he exudes warmth and kindness. He made me front up to the reality of what the situation meant, still allowing me the endless tears and emotion that went with it. My son, from the word go took the onus off me where the practical things were concerned when mum died. He took care of the paper work, the leg work and all the things I couldn`t face. He ran around with complete uncomplaining ease doing all the necessary evils. He was a tower of strength and very sensitive towards me. I knew he too was heartbroken at having lost his nan and his aunty. He sadly lost his other nan on the same night as my sister had died. His "nanny frog" meant the world to him. A second mother to him had left him no doubt feeling very lonely too.
I am very lucky to have the family that are also here with me now. My dad, my son and grandaughter are the reason I am still here and will carry on, plus holding the torch for my mum and sister. I still break down when memories come but those memories don`t burn quite so much now. I am learning to cope...
Curtain closed but open hearts..
When you find yourself feeling lonely and scared, remember there are countless people feeling the same. There are ways of learning to cope with grief. I don`t always feel it necessary to share my thoughts or feelings but sometimes I have and it has helped. Crying is the outlet valve for grief. You cannot shed too many tears but I`m aware that you can`t allow yourself to drowned in them either. I remember the people I lost both with sadness and comfort. I believe that I will see all my loved ones I lost along the way again, otherwise our lives would seem senseless.. Broken hearts carry scars to the grave, and we take all the memories of all the hurts and losses with us. We don`t forget, but in time, we celebrate the living, and remember that we are still here too. Enjoy life, embrace every moment. Treasure the memories and take your own time, in your own way to remember those you loved and no longer can see.