My mother died three weeks ago today.
As I reflected upon that number today I came to the conclusion that time has no meaning within grief. It feels like I have aged at least a decade in those short weeks yet I can still feel her cold hand under mine and the image of her lifeless form feels so fresh I could touch it. It’s an image I fear will never slack its hold on my memory.
The grief, so far, has been intense… and it has been soft. It has numbed my mind… and it has caused physical pain. Yet somehow, even with all the pain and sorrow, it seems I am not doing justice to my mother.
When my father died I mourned him. Now that my mother is gone, it is not her I mourn, but the both of them. The loss of my mother has heralded the loss of the life I have known until now. The family that nurtured me. The life that formed me. It no longer exists anywhere but my memory. It feels like my safety net is gone.
I am an orphan.
It’s a statement that seems to just stop time for me. I typed it and then had no more words. I read the post again and again and could seem to go no further. I checked Facebook. I avoided the word. I came back to it and stared blankly for a little longer. Orphan. It seems so final.
It is final. It is an end… and end to the family I have known and a forcible shove into the future. There is no running home… because that home is mostly empty and waiting for new owners. That home is gone.
The loss of my mother is so much more than just the woman. I think, perhaps, mourning her will have to wait until I have mourned the family that came with her.
I am encircled with love… from good friends (who supply me with fabulous meals and great coffee) to cuddly boys and a wonderfully supportive husband yet the overwhelming feeling of the past few weeks has been loneliness.
I keep coming back to that word… orphan. It seems to steal all other words from me. Even as I start to emerge from the intense grief of this past week, the words seems to send me spiralling back.
At times I shake myself and think, ‘it’s been three weeks, it’s time to start shaking this off,’ at others I think ‘orphan’ and it seems nothing can drag me out of this funk.
Three weeks. A lifetime. Three weeks. An instant.
I don’t know which.