Geraldine Jennings

10th August. Happy Birthday, Mum

Have you ever had a random thought, out of the blue? Like a box of memories in your head fell over and spilled out. Memories you haven’t seen in years, which feel novel and new. I had that recently. Out of the blue, for no reason at all, a box in my head fell over and I suddenly remembered a time my Mum exquisitely handled a moment of pre-teen drama. A moment that could have exploded into real, actual, stunning drama. But it didn’t. Because she was there. Because she diffused it. Because her Mom skills were on point that day.

Geraldine Jennings

Then I had one of those other thoughts. The truly painful ones, and if you’ve lost someone you’ll know what I mean. One of those moments where, for just a second too long you think to yourself “oh God, I have to tell her that, she’ll love it”.  That’s what I thought. I thought about telling my Mum and laughing with her. I thought about congratulating her on Momming so well that day, joking about other times where maybe she didn’t manage to intercept the teenage drama…sorry…I indulged in this fantasy for just long enough, I know now when to cut these painful avenues short.

Geraldine Jennings
Mom in Ecalpemos with Rua

That scenario is the tussle that makes grieving so very exhausting. After she died, initially, there was this seemingly endless conflict between my conscious and subconscious mind. I would subconsciously think about talking to her, or asking her something, and then I would have to consciously, rationally remind myself of the painful fact that it was no longer possible. That exhausting push and pull with your own thoughts means you have to jump in and out of your grief constantly. Reminding yourself again and again that things are different now. Things are different forever. So I was not expecting this pattern to crop up again. She’s gone so long?! Surely we’ve moved passed that stage now?
Another thing I have learned through this process is that grieving is not a straight line; some days you’ll take three steps forward, and some you won’t take any at all. Some days you don’t even try. And that’s ok. That’s all ok. A wise friend reminded me that, this is the worst thing we will ever have to go through but that it makes us just ever so slightly more invincible.

Geraldine Jennings

The morning is my time to remember. There is a stillness in the twilight where I can find some space and be with her memories and laughter. The time between here and there, before the sun has risen. The time between then and now when the birds are not yet calling for the day. The time between what’s passed and what’s yet to come. That’s our time. That’s the time we celebrate.

10th of August. Happy birthday Mum. xx

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