Friday, 5 February 2010

First anniversary of Mum's death

Poor Mum. I thought of her a lot on Wednesday, and was sad, but tears did not come as expected. I suppose a year is sufficient time for grief to dissipate, but I did want to cry. Instead I got on with a visit to Welling and then an evening with my cousin R---. No doubt it was best; what good would brooding at home have done?

The only image I can see of her is the deathbed one - as captured in my poem Under The Sheet in the posting on 11 February 2009 called My Mum Is Dead. Clearly the sight of her so soon after death, laid out as if asleep, but with her final expression still on her face, affected me deeply. I just can't seem to recall her as she was in life. I can look at my photos, but I haven't got a recording of her voice - nor Dad for that matter - and she seems forever fixed in her dying state. I hope that changes.

The last verse of the poem goes as follows:

The unbeliever knelt and prayed,
And found some loving words to say.
I wished you in Heaven, and said it through tears,
But they couldn't repair the guilt of years.
I wanted to tell you and explain,
I wanted to tell you my real name.
And speak of this, and this, and this,
But all I could do at the very end
Was to give your cheek the softest kiss.

Perhaps I have a mental block because there was so much I wanted to say to Mum before she died, but she wouldn't hear me; and then all too soon she was unable to hear me. We did not have a proper farewell.


  1. Do we ever have a proper farewell? When I last saw my father, he had bronchial cancer, but was up, walking around, and other than being short of breath when he exerted himself, he seemed just as normal as could be. We had a wonderful conversation the day before I left, where I finally felt that he was communicating with me on an adult to adult basis. He actually shared with me, some vexing frustrations of his career as an Army officer. This was something he had never done before, because had always been so stoic. I guess he realized he was dying, so he could finally let go of that act. He lived in Florida and I had flown down to see him, when my mother called, and told me he had cancer. I took him to his first radiation session, where they tattooed little targets on his chest. He was also just starting his chemotherapy, and I remember fighting back the tears, as I heard him vomiting in the bathroom. I had to go back home the next day, but trusted his doctors knew what they were doing, and expected him to make a recovery. Two months later he was dead. I think the treatment did him in more so than his cancer. He was an old man, almost 81, and they just poisoned him with heavy doses of chemicals, and fried him with radiation, until he was too weak hold on anymore.

    And then of course you already know about my sister. I saw her at least once a week during the course of her illness. We tried to keep things on a happy note, so as not to seem morbid. Then when she did start to deteriorate, no one wanted to mention it. All we wanted to do was comfort her, so no deep conversations there. Then when they die, all these things you wanted to tell them, and all these questions that you want to ask them flood your mind, and you feel so frustrated because those conversations will never be held.

    Lucy, I know by the things you have written, that you loved your mother and your father too, and that you feel like you owe them a great debt. The best way you can thank them, is to keep doing what you have been doing, and go on to live a full and productive life as your real self. But I'm sure you already know that. :-)

    Melissa XXOO

  2. It might seem strange to say this but I was fortunate not to see my dad when he was dying. My sister was with him and told me that she felt very privileged to be there at his death. She told me everything and I think that it helped her and me. I still well up from time to time, there is a man in the village who looks like dad from behind. I can see his face but it’s his words and actions over the years that come to me most.

    My daughter, Dom, was heartbroken when we told her, she cried and cried. Then a couple of mornings later she told us that he had come to her in a dream and asked her not to cry anymore – no more tears.

    Time does help and I’m sure that eventually you will build a ‘picture’ of your mum.

  3. A sad time, Lucy.

    But there's no law that says one always has to cry, pet.

    I shed tears (lots!) at my father's bedside when he had gone, but none since. I do miss him, though. :-(


  4. I suppose there are already so many things left unsaid, especially when, as you said, the other person won't hear you. I fear that's how I will lose my mother, with her still not speaking to me and barely acknowledging my existence.

    Hugs for you.

  5. I don't think there's anyone who doesn't regret not mentioning something to their loved one after they've died. Along with the occasional reminder of them.
    Lucy x

  6. Thank you all for these comforting reflections. I do have a problem with my Mum's memory, but I hope that it will resolve itself in time.


  7. My mum was taken from me in moment. There she was, sitting in the driving seat beside me... then the sound of crunching metal and she lay dying on the road.

    That was 50 years ago, but I still recall it every time I drive past the spot, between Okehampton and Exeter. I want to remember the fun we must have had, but like you, Lucy, all I see is her dying.

    Five decades separate the deaths of our mums, but I identify with all your feelings.

    Would she approved of Angie? I will never know, but I hope she'd smile that I've taken her maiden name as my own - Davis.

  8. Sorry... clicked the Publish button too soon. Just wanted to finish by sending a big *HUG*.



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