(Still requires some edits)
This is my first blog and I dedicate this to my mother.
Losing a loved one is never easy. In my case; my mother.
I had just got married on a beautiful summers day in August, I married my childhood sweetheart. I couldn’t be any happier. Two days later, my husband and I set off for our honeymoon. I was literally so excited and bursting with joy. Finally after months and months of organising, running around speaking with wedding planners, my husband and I could relax, dip our feet in the ocean and drink a few cocktails as we watched the sunset. Exactly what I needed.
We arrived to our destination after two flights and a short boat ride to a small island in the Grenadines. We were greeted with a refreshing cold fruity cocktail and led to our room. The weather was hot and the skies were just starting to turn to dusk. We went into our room, a beautiful warm room with champagne and a fruit basket waiting for us. It was just splendid, I couldn’t have asked for more.
My husband then decided to turn his phone on after it had been switched off since we took off from London and I decided to start unpacking our suitcase. That’s when my life turned upside down. My husband received a phone call; it was my Uncle. He explained to my husband that my mother was critically ill and being kept in ICU and that we should make our way home as soon as possible. My husband just murmured a few words and I instantly knew something was wrong. After ending the call my husband told me the situation. I just couldn’t believe it , I was completely in denial. Nor did I believe that my mother was kept in ICU, I knew deep down that she had left me; my world.
I grabbed my phone, switched it on and dialed my mothers phone. No-one picked up. I tried again, no-one picked up. So I kept trying and after the third attempt I knew that this was all going wrong. I tried to phone my Uncle, my cousins, just to speak to someone, to find out what has happened but I didn’t get very many answers. My husband left to speak to reception to organise our departure on the next available flight back. I sat on the edge of the bed, the room that was 10 minutes ago my dream room where I was going to spend time with my husband and kick-back to relax. In those 10 minutes, the once warm room became a dark cold place, I was feeling sick at the bottom of my stomach. I didn’t want to believe what was happening.
Although my husband had only been gone for a few minutes, it seemed like an eternity to me. When he came back, we spoke and I shared my thoughts with him and cried. He didn’t know what to say but gave me a reassuring hug that everything will be OK.
We couldn’t go anywhere that night as there were no flights or boat rides until the next morning so my husband decided we should get some food and an early night. Seeing as all we had eaten was airplane food and with the excitement of going away didn’t get much sleep. We both freshened up and went to the restaurant to eat. I could barely eat much and I didn’t want to but I forced myself to eat because I knew if I didn’t then my husband wouldn’t either.
We came back to our room and I re-packed our suitcase and left the essentials out that we would need for the next day. My husband fell asleep pretty much straight away and I just lay there, thinking. Sleep wouldn’t come to me, I tried so hard but every time I did close my eyes I just saw my mum and couldn’t stop crying. I sobbed away until at some point I had managed to fall asleep. Even though I fell asleep I dreamt of my mum and it hurt so much. I woke up the next morning feeling like I hadn’t slept for over a month, my body hurt and I had a horrible headache. My husband and I then got ready and went to eat breakfast before the boat arrived to take us back to the next island.
We arrived back to the main island after a short boat ride and flight. That is where when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. There were no flights available to go back to London. We tried all the airlines but all of them were fully booked. We desperately shared our story and explained how urgent it was to get back but nothing happened. It seemed like everything was against us to get back to London. We got phone calls continuously from my family to see what our situation was and all we could do was give no answer. We stayed on standby in hope of getting a seat. When we didn’t get anything and I saw that staff members of the airline were able to grab seats that were available, I couldn’t help but lose my temper. Here I was desperately trying to get home and no-one would let me on and there were those people who just arrived and as they work for the airline they managed to get some seats because ‘they decided to cut short their holiday’.
Our travel representative gave us some nearby hotels that we could stay in. We argued that we shouldn’t have to pay and that travel insurance should cover us however, they didn’t agree to this. After arguing all day with the airline lady at the desk and now with the travel representative, both my husband and I were just knackered. We checked in to the cheapest hotel around and went to sleep. Cheapest hotel it was and it really showed. This was a great start to what was meant to be my dream honeymoon.
The next day, the same thing happened and the day after that. My husband and I literally spent all our mornings and afternoons at the airport waiting for some seats. We argued with the lady at the desk who was not helpful at all and at times she just walked away into her office and didn’t come out until the airplane had taken off, knowing we needed some seats. There was only one flight a day from that island back to London. Finally after 3 days of getting nowhere my husband really put his foot down and had a go at the lady, who again was not being helpful at all. It seemed like she just didn’t care about my situation. She finally spoke up and said there were two business class tickets available. Business class! Trying to buy a last-minute ticket and it being business class was extremely expensive. The cost of two seats was the same amount as our lavish honeymoon. I argued to say that we just wanted economy tickets but that lady just didn’t care. I cursed her so much in my head.
We finally gave in and bought those damn expensive tickets, but I had to get home. We arrived in London the next morning. After having heard the news on a Monday, we got home on Friday. All those days of just sitting in the airport, staying in cheap hotels (finally being upgraded to a much better hotel after all that arguing) and not being able to enjoy the flight back home, we arrived at my grandma’s house. Bearing in mind that all this time my family still hadn’t told me what had happened. They all were under the assumption that I thought my mother was ill, but I knew too well. When arriving to my grandma’s house after being picked up my Aunt and Uncle (and my husband and I thinking why are we going to my grandma’s house?) a few of my family members were there.
Knowing deep down that my mum was not in this world anymore, the truth of this was settling in even more into my mind. Why would my family members all be at my grandma’s house on a Friday morning? Even though I knew what news was coming my way, I still didn’t want to believe it. I went to hug my grandma and I saw a photo frame turned the opposite way, I knew that my mums face lay on the other side. My cousin quickly sat in front of the small table where the photo lay but I already knew by then. Still not saying anything, I sat down on the sofa, my husband beside me. I didn’t want to hear it, I knew what was coming. My Uncle started speaking to me, everyone else was quiet and listening. It was an eery silence, my thoughts screaming loud in my head, begging my Uncle to not say what I knew was coming. He asked by asking about our trip and what a headache it must have been trying to get home. He was trying to lighten the mood, to make me feel settled but I knew what was coming. And then he said it, said that my mum had gone and left the world. Gone to a “better place”. I didn’t want to hear it, by hearing it made it all real. Before it was just a thought in my head, in my mind and heart that wasn’t really real, I was in denial and I was happier then. But by hearing it out loud, it all just became so real. Those words played over and over again in my head, repeating itself. I sat there and I cried, I didn’t know what else to do. Here I was being told that my mother was no more. I looked at my husband crying, his face was so sunken with grief. I looked around the room to see my family members all crying with tears in their eyes. My grandma sobbing away. My cousin handed me the photo and that is when it hit me hard. Seeing my mums face in that photo frame just killed me inside. It broke my heart into pieces that could never be fixed again. I was damaged, hurt and broken.
Everyone in the room came up to me to say how sorry they were and gave me a hug. Little did I know that in the room next door were more family members that had come from abroad, my best friend and cousins. They all knew and no-one had told me. I felt hurt and betrayed but I also understood why they didn’t tell me. I had so many mixed emotions in my mind, it was like a train crash happening in my head. My head hurt, my eyes stung and I felt my body moving but I didn’t know how it was moving. It was like I was on auto-pilot mode and I was doing things and speaking to people but really I wasn’t there. I couldn’t remember exactly what people were telling me, what they were saying. I just needed a few moments alone.
My Uncles had organised for my husband and I to go and see my mums body that had been kept in the morgue later that afternoon. I wanted to go straight away but according to our religious customs and traditions, I had to go home and have a shower. So I went home, home being my mums place where I was staying before my wedding day. It was still my home. Arriving to the front of the house, I stood there and froze. I was going to walk back to my home, my home where I grew up, my home where my mum was. I couldn’t do it. I stood there for a moment and swallowed my fear and walked through the front door. Half expecting my mum to be sitting in the living room on her seat on the sofa with a big grin. Walking in and not seeing her there killed me a little bit more on the inside. I guess, I was still in shock or denial. I still didn’t want to believe it.
Following the traditions that I had to, I freshened up and with my husband and few other people we made our way to the morgue. I stood outside the room whilst the undertaker brought my mum into the room. The door opened. I could see the coffin and inside I knew it was my mum. I didn’t want to walk in, I didn’t want to see her but I wanted to see her. So after a moment or two, I walked in and everyone followed behind. I saw her just lying there, looking so peaceful. It seemed like she was in deep sleep. The room had prayers playing in the background, it seemed like the perfect setting. I went over closer, saw how she just lay there and didn’t move. No breath was being drawn in or expelled. Her chest wasn’t rising and falling. She just lay there, peacefully. And there I was looking down onto her, frantically wanting to grab her and shake her awake. My husband came and stood beside me and again all I could do was cry. What I really wanted to do was scream, just run away and not accept what was in front of me.
My family members and I said a few prayers and then it was time to go home. I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to spend every moment with my mum. Just had she had been there for me for every part of my life, I wanted to be at her side. But I couldn’t stay.
The next day was the funeral. I barely slept that night, I was still feeling sick in my stomach. I could hardly eat any food. My family members, being great, organised everything for me, there wasn’t much left for me to do.
I woke up the next morning and for a few moments it feel like everything had been a horrible nightmare. It took a few seconds until reality hit me hard, like a big slap in the face like when you’ve sat an exam and not received the results you wanted or not getting that big promotion; except this was a million times worse. Before everyone arrived at the house, as the coffin was going to be brought home, I spent some time with my husband and we spoke to each other. It was a tough time for the both of us but he promised to stay by my side. With that, we carried on.
Where the morning went, I had no idea. Carrying on in pilot mode, I greeted all the guests, family and friends all came to speak to me and to see my mum. Moments before the coffin arrived with my mum in there, the atmosphere completely changed. From the small chit-chat of people in the living room and some people chanting prayers, it turned to a quiet, scary place. As the chit-chat stopped and the chanting grew louder everything started spinning in my head. The coffin was brought in, my mum was brought in. A space was made in the middle of the living room where she would lay. The undertakers came in, set everything up and then brought my mum in. Many people started to cry, the chanting carried on.
As the coffin opened I saw my mum again, I couldn’t handle it, seeing her like that. I tried to compose myself but all I could do on the inside was try to look for a way out, a way out where I didn’t have to be in this situation but there was no way to turn back time.
The traditions carried on and everyone placed flowers on my mum. In that time, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t think anything and everything I did, I can’t even recall how I did. It was like my body and my soul were two different entities, the body was moving but the soul was stuck in that one place just staring at my mum. With every hope and prayer that she would just wake up, time flew by, time for us to go and cremate my mum, send her off.
As we arrived to the crematorium, I saw so many people inside. All there to pay their respects to my mum, what an impact she had made on so many people’s lives. As I went inside, I could see from the corner of my eye that everyone was looking at me but I carried on walking to the front. I stood at the top of the ‘stage’ waiting for my Uncle to finish saying a few words he wanted to say about my mum. It was like a performance and I’m waiting to do my part, except I had no joy in this whatsoever. As my turn came, I stood there but nothing was coming out my mouth. My husband and I had written a short but touching poem for me to read but I couldn’t. With my husband’s hand on my back, reassuring me again that he was there, I began. The crematorium was silent, you could hear a pin drop and my words echoed out loud. As I finished, a song that I had selected began to play and that is when my mums coffin was being taken away. I didn’t want her to go, I was screaming in my head trying to tell someone to stop her from being carried away but no-one listened.
My heart sank, it shattered even more, I wanted to see her again, just one more, the last time. But before I knew it we were at the back seeing my mum go through. It is almost like when you see someone off at the airport and they go behind those glass doors to security and you know they’re going to a better place and you won’t see them again. Yet, they would return from their holiday and tell you all about it, in this case though, there was no return.
I would never be able to see her again, speak to her again, laugh or cry with her, tell her my fears or my joys. That was all gone; she was gone and whole chunk of me was gone with her.
As time went by or in my case flew by on some days and stood still on other days, I thought the pain and grief I felt would never become less. I guess until today, it still hasn’t become less but I’ve managed to deal with the situation and move on. There is not a day where I don’t think about my mum or how she would feel about where I am in my life but I’ve managed to carry on. Carry on living and doing the things I need to do.
A part of me is still there with her, gone forever but time has helped me to become stronger. I always wish that she would come back that I might see in a large crowd somewhere or she might just knock on the door. I see her in my dreams and she seems happy and for that brief moment in time everything just feels right, back to normal. Waking up is the harsh reality where I realise that nothing about that dream was normal.
I do feel she is here with me, somehow and this is good enough for me to carry on.