So, you may have noticed a change in tone in daysofhilda in the last few weeks. It’s the medication. Esipram agrees with me and tonight when I renewed my prescription I didn’t even get TOTALLY PISSED OFF at my doctor’s suggestion that I get on my bike to keep my weight under control. He’s lucky I’m running with Capital A Acceptance and not a pair of scissors. When I’m fitter, when my jeans fit, I’ll be back for you, mate.
He’s right, Nicki.
Whatever. Bloody doctor.
I’ve been living some nice days, nice meaning, peaceful, wonderful, thoughtful, insightful. Plenty of cuddles and kisses from my sons are coming in, even the biggest boy doesn’t mind giving Mum a hug. Sentences are being made and ideas are being born. The nicest event in the last week was talking to my mum.
I’ve put off writing about Mum. I don’t know to approach her feelings about losing Libby, I mean, how do you? And I’m still getting over the fact that she left me and moved overseas (there is ocean between me and my mother so I will call Tasmania overseas if I want).
But this week Mum rang and it went something like this…
‘I’ve got a new role model,’ she says.
‘You have?’ I’m thinking a poet or a painter, a textile artist, somebody inspiring at their craft, somebody whose work deserves admiration, ‘Who?’
‘You,’ she says.
‘Me?’ I may have squeaked.
Poor woman has had a nasty knock to the head.
I’m smiling. That’s nice, really nice. Yep, I’m forty-five, I’ve got kids of my own, two bikes, and a reasonably well reviewed book out, but I still care what this woman thinks of me. Especially since Libby died.
Turns out Mum read the blogpost about the education my bike is giving me and liked some of the sentiments in it. Particularly, ‘sleep with confidence under your pillow.’ I love that my mum follows daysofhilda, I love that when my dad comments he calls himself, ‘Oldie’. I hope my parents have found some healing in my words.
So, I’m my mother’s role model.
Well, she’s mine.
How do you do grief in style? You don’t. How on earth do you recover from losing a child? You don’t.
My mother saw her daughter’s body. There are certain sentences that make me cry in instant, even now when my grief has become lighter and simpler, and thinking of Libby brings more smiles than tears. My mother saw her daughter’s body is one of those sentences.
The idea of my mother touching her daughter that one last time, kissing her goodbye, how did she do it? How?
Not long after Libby died my parents went on their trip of a lifetime around Europe. It had been booked and paid for well before June the 10th.
Probably the trip was just the thing. I’ve seen their eight million photos, heard the stories, watched Dad’s videos of various European trams and trains going by (yes, that’s true. Videos. With sound), the trip looks and sounds like it was just the thing. Get out of town. See new things. See in Real Life the paintings, and sculptures, and tapestries you’ve only seen in books and on TV. How fantastic.
But all with your dead daughter at the front of your minds. It’s gut twisting.
Opportunities can be made out of grief. I’m here today in this space, expressing myself, connecting, making sentences and making myself cry, because of grief.
Space can be made for more – more understanding, more learning, more acceptance. Especially acceptance. My parents don’t irritate me half as much as they used to. I find I can’t get remotely angry about hurts from the past, that was then, this is now, and nobody in my family ever tried to hurt anyone.
My mum. I miss her. And my dad, I miss him too.
It took losing Libby to open my heart to my parents. To see them not as two people whose lives I was brought up in the wake off. They’re not just parents, they’re people. They are rounded, full people, with interests and motivations of their own and I’m not going to agree with all the time, but I respect them. And in their lives, their passions – she’s into lighthouses he’s into trains, she makes wonderful, telling art out of refuse, he sees beauty in Steam – in my parent’s steadfast love for each other, I have found my role models.
i have taken hundreds of photos in the last year and a half and this is by far the saddest because that’s my mum at platypus rock for the first time. i can’t take how she’s reaching into the water, a type of hello/goodbye, i can’t take it. i love you, mum and dad. thank you.