It’s hard to imagine living without someone you love. But when it’s not only someone you love, but someone you need, admire, learn from, seek counsel from, and have seen or spoken to every day of your life , it starts to seem impossible. However, for the past 8 months, my sister and I have been doing the seemingly impossible… living without our mother.
Nothing can prepare you for the way losing your mother feels. It’s scary, and heart breaking, very confusing, and extremely weird. Your brain is crammed FULL of memories, moments, songs, smells, words, behaviours, sayings, associations, mannerisms, tastes, conversations and a billion more things all relating to this one person in your life who, suddenly isn’t there any more. But your brain keeps reminding you of these things, which never used to hurt, but now it suddenly hurts, so eventually your brain stops doing it, and that’s when things get a bit better. When you’re able to have slightly more control over the memories, and you’re able to retrieve them at your own will. Of course you can only do this to a certain extent, and every now and again you get surprised by overwhelming emotions that send memories flooding back from your brain and out of your eyeballs, and it normally takes you by surprise! The subtle whiff of hairspray, the lady in Woolworths who wore a blouse similar to hers, a mother walking hand in hand with her daughter across the street, the smell of carrot cake, your first bite of Bolognaise, a silly made-up word that people use when they can’t remember the real word …. the list goes on and on.
But no matter how painful these memories or little reminders can be, they’re all very very good. They remind me of what being a mother is, and although i’m not a mother YET … i remember the kind of mother i want to be.
The kind of mother that won’t ask her children to do the dishes because “they’ll wash their own dishes when their older, it’s more important that they play”. The kind of mother that will always discipline her children when appropriate, but always let them know how much they are loved by giving them lots of hugs and kisses. The kind of mother that will respect her children, and will give them the freedom to explore who they are, no matter how much she disapproves of the heavy metal blaring from the stereo in their room. The kind of mother that will let her children know that no matter how early it is in the morning, they can count of me to fetch them from the party when their drunk friend leaves them behind. The kind of mother that will patiently teach my kids to sew, knit, cook, bake, garden and apply make-up correctly. The kind of mother who will always be there, no matter the time or the circumstances, to laugh with, and cry with. And the kind of mother who will teach her children that they are loved, by a far greater love than mine… and that they must love others.
You know … that kind of mother.