Monday, 17 January 2011

Happy New Year - Big Bold Bez

Happy New Year readers!

Never has this statement been so true on my part. For years I have been wishing the New Year in, without much care for any resolutions beyond the usual, diet, stop smoking, be better at this, do less of that. But this year the feeling I took through from 2010 to 2011 was something new for me, a feeling of relief, a sense I could shed some sadness, let it go and move on. I shed the weighty grief of last year.

I lost my mother. Not lost. It’s not as if we were in a shopping centre or something. My mum died. Suddenly. And far too young, at 63, as far as I am concerned. She was a close friend, a confidant, a companion and an inspiration. The loss of her was so mammoth, so sudden and shocking that it took part of my life and soul away.

The death of a loved one is one of life’s inevitable experiences that few people prepare you for. Throughout my life I have lost two best friends. Jamie when I was 15. Shakey when I was 21. I lost my darling Nanna when I was 23. The lady I was closest too as a young child, who was nothing but goodness and old fashioned charm personified. All of those deaths cut me deeply, sent me into despair for a while and changed the way I lived my life.

But the death of my dear mum changed me.

It took a part of my life away that I loved so very much, that I enjoyed being around, sharing with and benefitting from. Her death has taken a very long time to accept. But finally I can.

The stages of grief; Shock, Denial, Anger and Guilt, Despair and Depression, Acceptance.

I have been through them all, some backwards and forwards, some I’ve hung around in for a very long time, some I’ve gone back to when I’ve thought that stage over and sometimes once I realised where I was, what I was doing and how to cope, something came and bit me on the bum throwing me right back to shock! I found as long I was realistic about why I felt the way I did, explained myself to those I loved around me, then I could just about get through it most of the time.

There is no rhyme or reason as to why you progress the way you do and the stages are not linear, you not pass smoothly through them in order. Gosh no! I certainly didn’t. And I don’t believe it to be the case for others who have been through deep grief. Not when our emotions are so easily triggered by a smell or someone who looks like them, music, good / bad news you wish to share, the passing of time making you physically miss them popping round. All of these and more can impact on your inner grief. Drag it all back up, make you sense it all again. There is no stopping it, you are best to go with it and feel what you need to, react how you need to (within reason). What I do know about the stages of grief for sure... Is that shock comes at the beginning and acceptance waaaaaaaaay at the end. The path you take and the length of that path depends on you and who you grieve.

There is no wrong way, or right way. At lot of the time you don’t know which way it is affecting you, you just try to move on, get on with life, but you always carry grief with you. Hidden or on your sleeve. Quite often it isn’t until someone says you are acting weird / out of character / negative that you realise, you’re still hurting and it’s effecting how you respond to things. Quite often those things are life’s little trying scenarios.
All those silly things that get to us when we are stressed or under pressure. Busy or tired. Emotionally topped up. Things like having to clear up after the kids, forgetting something important, chores, breaking things. You know. All those things that are minor but also safe to go over the top about in your reaction. Finally at some point you realise that your mental health is suffering quite a bit as you try to keep a lid on the emotion wrapped around your body, around your heart and soul. It is trying to comfort you but keeping you smothered, swamped in sadness.

Eventually something will give and you will find yourself emerging from a black cloud of depression. Its as if your mind has been spring cleaned and you can see sense again, can feel love without pain, accept kindness without tears, see ahead for yourself without loss. Its not that you leave the grief behind, more that you find a way to live with it. It becomes a part of your senses, your emotions that can effect your previously usual character. You accept that from now on certain things, certain triggers are always going to make you feel this way, because you will always miss them, want them back and nothing can ever change that.

You also gain a sense of living for them. My mum was such a beautiful unique crazy lady. She lived life to the full, was compassionate, intelligent and very caring. She would never have wanted my life to stop once she had gone. She hated seeing me sad and lonely when she was alive and although I think a small part of her is honoured at how much she is grieved, how much she is missed (if she’s watching), mostly she would want me to make the most of my life.
And since New Year I have been thinking like that too. Every good thing about her I try to capture within my own goodness. Every lesson I learnt from her I take forward into my own life and spread among my nearest and dearest. Things like:

ALWAYS be honest, for the truth has a funny way of always coming out. Honesty is the best policy.

Never lie.

Acknowledge that sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do.

Believe in yourself; love yourself. For if you can’t, then you will not be capable of understanding or accepting another’s love for you.

In the event of a trauma / drama, wait three days before you respond.

Never say hate, don’t or cant.

Show compassion. Do good.

Aim high, live your dreams.

Spoil yourself every now and then. (especially shoes or rugs)

So here I am in the New Year, 2011, by Jeeves. Making my way through the trials and tribulations of a fulfilled life, carrying my memories of mum in my mind, our combined life’s lessons rippling through my soul and my love for her held forever tight in my heart.

As the years pass, my grief will change again. As my life grows I will find new reasons to miss her and new ways to cope. And thats ok. Because someone as big and bold as my mum Bez could never be forgotten. I’m glad.

Glad she was as good as she was. Glad she chose this life. Glad she was my mum.

And I will always be happy with my memories.
A Happy New Year indeed!

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