Like all writing, when it’s forced it just doesn't feel right; it doesn’t read right, and certainly couldn’t be spoken through a thick fog of grief in front of a crowd. I was determined to do my mum’s eulogy after all the many hours I’d spend phoning her up, multiple times a day when I lived in London and she was back home in Aberdeen.
The apparent strong, independent one; I clung to my mum from a safe distance while she lost herself in addiction. I couldn’t bear to watch her drowning. My hero; beaten down after so many years of emotional abuse; and I couldn’t save her, not for lack of trying.
I lost my dad the very same way 13 years before.
Right now, the time indoors is forcing me to slow down enough to explore the feelings of grief I didn’t allow myself to back then. The physical pain in my chest of trapped emotions is too searingly uncomfortable to keep locked up anymore.
Every now and then it bubbles up to the surface; threatening to show face at the most inconvenient times; prompted by a song, or a flower or place. Sometimes, I just let the tears silently flow. Other times, I know it’s just far too overwhelming to let loose in public; and can’t chance dramatically curling myself up on the floor to let it all out; like what happens in the safety of my own home, when I let it.
Finally, I’m beginning to let go, finding peace and forgiveness, in place of the anger and resentment that I didn’t even realize I was carrying with me this far.
The words for the Eulogy came to me, imperfect but flowing, one night after returning to her house alone in the middle of nowhere. Still numb from the shifts I’d pulled in the ICU where I’d stop myself from crying; not wanting her to feel scared; not knowing how much she might still be present and aware of. I just couldn’t bear the pain of thinking she’d be frightened.
One of the heaviest weights of grief I carry is knowing that both of my parents knew when they were dying and didn’t tell us; they just slipped into their respective comas; trying to protect us from the inevitable and unavoidable pain that was to come, or maybe not feeling deserving of support; I’ll never know.
Mum passed away when my sister was with her. We’d both taken turns to be bedside to make sure mum was never alone — Something that makes me qual measures grateful and sad, in the knowledge that many are losing their lives right now without their loved ones beside them.
If there’s one thing that I’m taking from this time, it’s the importance of gratitude; really soaking up the most simple moments, and making memories. Life is so fleeting. I know I’m not alone in having missed so much; drunk on technology, and keeping busy to ignore my feelings.
I feel like I’ve been granted a free pass to remember to live along the way and let go of the past in love and forgiveness.
As my mum had nicknamed me ‘The Monologue’, I feel it only fitting I attempt to deliver my Eulogy; although I can’t promise I will be able to finish.
First and foremost, Corinne and I love you, this is most important I tell you.
Thank you, for being the most kind, loving, and one-of-a-kind woman; who has made so many people smile with your weird and wonderful ways.
Thank you, for being so incredibly funny that we have been approached by so many people with beautiful memories of you to add to our own.
Thank you, for being our Mother.
For all we went through, the good and the bad, you built this family; and through you, we built a fierce bond. Corinne and I will continue this for you.
Thank you. You were the ultimate best friend, for both of us; enduring my 4 calls a day, you were always there. Sorry if I bugged the shit out of you.
Thank you, for your selflessness. No matter how ill you were, you were always there for us; looking after Coco and taking pride in feeding the birds. It was these acts of kindness that defined your beautiful soul, but for you, this was just second nature, you always wanted to make others feel cared for.
Mostly, thank you for inspiring and helping me. I was worried that when you were gone I couldn’t call you to hear that everything would be ok, but I’ve realized I didn’t need to worry, because all that you taught me, I remember, so I can always feel safe.
Thank you, because you taught us to trust in life’s path, the good WILL come; and when we are least expecting it.
Expect Less. Love more. Worry Less. Live More.
You kept saying we didn’t get our brains from you, but how wrong, look at all you taught us.
Lastly, thank you for your fight, you stayed strong for so long, although Christmas past you told me you felt weak, your final fight was so strong and I know you didn’t mean or want to leave us, you never will.
I’m so glad you are safe now, sleep well Mama Bear.