It has been 5 weeks since my mother passed away. Five weeks of foggy brain soup learning how to take the first steps to continue moving forward. It almost feels as if time has both stood still and hurried along.
The experience of losing my mother has brought a myriad of emotions bubbling to the surface. Emotions that I’m struggling to neatly store away in a specific box… the truth is her death has brought with it a great deal of relief. Our relationship was never the mother-daughter relationship I saw my friends have with theirs. I’ve always felt I disappointed her. I was never girly enough, never quiet enough, never loud enough, never mature enough. That she loved me, I do not doubt, but her love always seemed to come with a ‘but’.
The relief I have experienced in the last five weeks is that I can no longer be a disappointment, I no longer need to hear the ‘but’ that would come with the love and can simply rest in the knowledge that she loved me and was proud of what I have achieved in my life.
This relief has been overwhelmed at times by the guilt of feeling so much relief. That and the fact that over the last two years I’ve insisted on being more absent than I had been previously.
One emotion that has been explicitly absent from the last five weeks is denial. There was only ever acceptance. Being with her for her last moments provided me with that gift. I admit it didn’t feel real but there was no denying that it had happened. Maybe my interpretation of denial is skewed, but that and bargaining didn’t come into the mix.
The grief I have experienced since losing my mother has been messy yet unassuming. As well as the relief, guilt, and sadness over her death, I’m also grieving all the missed opportunities to say things that were left unsaid. The loss of the hope I had that one day our relationship would be better than it had always been.
One day, I hope to come to terms with all that I am grieving for but for now, knowing that I was able to give her some peace in her final moments will have to see me through.