It takes a village

Today was Mother’s Day. I guess at 9:40 pm I should say that today IS Mother’s Day. Either way, it is an event I have not really had to deal with for 14 years now, yet it always deals with me. Surely by now, I would be OK; it’s not her birthday, or anniversary, or even Christmas. I guess in ways I am, but it seems to always creep up and catch me by surprise. It’s so regular though, I wonder why the surprise still occurs. Still, I have spent the day trying to read for assignments, trawling social media and walking around my new favourite suburb, all the while wondering why I was so restless. Until a dear friend relayed the love, thoughts and encouragement of her parents, who I hold so dear. It’s then that it really hit me, and the lid slid on the big gaping hole in my life. But I want to make it clear that it is not the grief or the feeling of loss that defines me, it is more about the ability to acknowledge that loss and still exist. 

This evening I want to look at how I could function today, even through the subconscious mist. I acknowledge now that it is one more day that will never be the same, but it is just a day. People in the UK and America celebrate Mother’s Day at a completely different time, so it’s not even an acknowledged universal day. As far as I recall, the autumn leaves were still colourful when I went walking earlier today, tempted as I was to head into the local footy match as I walked past (what would be more fitting than footy to acknowledge my mum?).

Why, then, does grief strike us at particular times? How is it that I can be ‘fine’ and approach it as the fact it is most days now, but still find myself in that mist I was in today? That tired, sleepy state of being my subconscious has placed me in for two days now to cotton wool itself.

I am blessed to have surrogates all around me; aunts, family friends, other family and even my close friends and their mums. It always amazes me how the capacity to love is so rife with these women. The ability, and choice, to take one more person under their wing and to love and give and support are inspiring. I spent last weekend with my uncle and aunt down the coast, and my aunt had cooked a little extra each meal leading up to my visit so I would have a collection of ready-made meals to bring back. And my aunt that has made sure I have enough warm pyjamas, blankets, etc., in my new flat. Or one who recently gave me money to ensure my cupboards and fridge were stocked. Not forgetting that they helped me move, twice in the last couple of months. Or that they have continually provided me with such incredibly warm, genuine unconditional love for a lifetime, each filling the role of ‘mother’ so well and doing my mum proud.

As one who has loved children as her own (and still does), I get it. It’s hard to consider the concept of being the recipient of such love, but I at least know it is possible. And I am so eternally grateful to each and every person who has filled a pocket of the role in whichever way shape or form, be it aunties, nan, cousins, brother, friends, friends mums, whoever. I thank each and every one of you every day.

As they say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. In my case, the child is slightly overgrown.

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