So I was chatting to my aunt yesterday who’s visiting Ireland on an impromptu holiday and she asked me when my due date was. After I told her she says ‘Oh, that’s a few days before my mum’s birthday!’ We agreed it would be lovely if my sprog greeted the world on that day (her mum having passed away before I was born), but I decided it a bit narcissistic to name her after my late granny if it’s a girl, considering her name was Maggie too.
Anyway, I got a bit sentimental thinking about it because my mum, this aunt’s only sister, also passed away 12 years ago and it dawned on me that I’m not now just a motherless daughter, but soon a motherless mother as well!
Of course this had already crossed my mind many times after I found out I was pregnant, but something about talking to my aunt – who reminds me a bit of my mum and I don’t see very often – made me super soppy on the road home. But it’s not faaaaiiirrr!! I cry – the same dialogue going through my head as has done on many an occasion before; the injustice of it all!!
And I realised: no matter how much time passes, and no matter how many of life’s trials and tribulations you go through and strength you foolishly think you’ve built up in regards to grieving over a passage of time, when you lose someone that was such an integral part of your existence – your lifeline even – it still bloody hurts.
My mum died of cancer a few months before my 18th birthday. She didn’t have it that long, about three years if memory serves me, and it took her away from us a few months after she turned 51. She was the same age as her own mum Maggie was when she died, her having been consumed by the same disease too. That freaks me out.
I miss her everyday but especially at times like these when I think about how she won’t be here to help me at the hospital where I’ll no doubt be panicking and probably thinking every pain means I’m dying; she won’t be on hand to babysit or give me a break when I’ll probably be exhausted; she’s not here to ask for advice or tell me how to breastfeed when I’m doing it wrong and feeling like a failure; not even when I just need someone to look after me, so I don’t have to be strong all the time.
My mum was pregnant with my sister at the same age as I am now. And I’m disappointed that I can’t introduce her to her first grandchild ’cause I know she’d be over the moon. It pure annoys me that I have to grin and bear everyone’s well-meaning advice forced down my throat about hospitals, and birthing, and pain-relief, and child-rearing, and work, and how I’m going to manage ’cause at the end of the day, the only advice I’ve ever really wanted or needed, is my mums.
When I give myself 5 minutes away from the noise to sit with myself, I feel my mum’s advice as a gut instinct and a ‘knowing’ that, you know what? everything will be OK and that I will cope. There’s never a ‘right’ time to start a family or buy a house or move away or go travelling or get married. When we stop over-thinking and let life be, it happens so beautifully on it’s own – I don’t have to be in control of every tiny part, every second of everyday. I know my mum left us early, but she left me strong enough to cope in this big bad world on my own thank you very much! So what if I lose the rag from lack of sleep and have a melt down? I’ll get over it! So what if I struggle for a few weeks with the realisation that I’m responsible for a real-life human being that suddenly needs more attention than I do?! Aren’t I lucky to have it!
Like I’ve had to do for the past twelve years, I’ll continue to learn and stand on my own two feet as I grow, and feel so grateful that I had the time I did have with my mum, for she really made it magical when she could – and I can only hope that I will be as good of a parent as she was when my little sprog eventually shows his or her face – on granny Maggie’s birthday or not!