‘I’m good thanks’ – an answer I’ve been giving recently, which is sometimes met with a quizzical or suspicious look, as people generally don’t believe me. Which is fine, because their concern comes from a good place. 3 months have passed since my beautiful mum died, so I guess ‘I’m good thanks’ might be a little unbelievable but actually I’m telling the truth. I am good and I thought I’d share why.
I was unsure whether or not to post this – as I don’t want to be always banging on about grieving and loss – but I started this blog first and foremost as a form of therapy for myself, so talk about it (for this time only) I must. Moreover I want to talk about the positive and spiritual part of life and death – so no grumpy pants here.
I’m not saying it’s been a walk in the park. I’ve cried and sobbed, but I’ve also laughed and hugged. In like everything I am trying to do now, balance is the key.
Death is a scary word – but really its just another part of life. Denying it means denying life as it is; awareness of death allows us to perceive life in its totality. It makes life important and what you do with life is everything. Being aware of death leads to respecting life more and valuing every moment: in a strange contradiction, it makes us more alive.
This gives me the knowledge to help me feel ok. But only ‘ok’ as I still have an empty hole in my life which can never be filled. Loosing someone so close to you is an experience you can only really know if its happened to you. I’m not saying how I have coped is the best way because grieving is so personal. I know the cliches; ‘time is a healer’,’ I’ll learn to live with it’ etc etc and I do believe them. But it is of little comfort in the present. Like waves, grief can hit you – sometimes you see the waves coming, other times they take you off guard. Sometimes you are able to stand strong and let the waves wash over you, other times they slap you in the face and the pain is actually physical. But whenever the waves come, they don’t last forever. Life still runs on and so must you.
The finality is one of the hardest things to take – feeling like something has been taken away. That it’s gone. But my mums not gone. (stay with me here) I don’t mean in a weird ghosty way but scientifically. The universe is made up of matter and energy. Matter — anything that has mass and takes up space – is finite. You can’t ‘make’ more matter. Therefore when someone dies, they don’t disappear. Their body is matter, the molecules dispersed into our universe. So, when I need my mum – I stand on a hill, or on the sea front, or in the rain and breathe her in on the wind. Or I look for her in the stars and in rainbows. It honestly makes me feel stronger. At her wake, we looked outside on a November evening – the sun was setting, reflecting against clouds, which gave the sky a strange orange glow and the brightest rainbow graced the sky – landing directly on my parents house. People looked in amazement, others looked on knowingly. She’s a clever one, my mum.
I now know that when I need her, I just have to look. I don’t just look to nature but I look inside me and within my family and those who knew my mum. I look to the endless recipes she taught me, the songs I sing to the children at school or loudly in the shower, the words I use when I talk to people… That comforts me. The overall feeling when she died wasn’t sadness and loss (which was heart wrenching) but was pride. I was so proud she was my mum and felt so lucky I got to have her. At her funeral, there were so many people there that they couldn’t all fit into the room. Many stood in the waiting room and failing that, outside. A small part of her was within everyone there in some way. What an incredible lesson for life. And why? Kindness, courage and love. It’s that simple.
So that’s why ‘I’m good’ – having these beliefs inside me makes me stronger. That, and my brilliant family, boyfriend and friends. And running. And good food. And yoga. And holidays to look forward to. And wine. Oh there’s a whole load of reasons why I’m good.
Next time you see me on the beach, arms out-flung, breathing deeply – you might still look at me like a weirdo, but at least now you know why.
“Time for me to go now, I won’t say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, way up in the sky.
Every waking moment, and all your whole life through
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.”
(by Conn Bernard)