Time’s definitely a funny old thing. Time definitely isn’t a perfect healer. One year on from the date you lost someone you truly admired and adored definitely doesn’t suck any less than it did 365 days before.
It often all catches up with you at inopportune, unexpected and down right inconvenient moments – in supermarket queues, mid workout and at traffic lights, nearly always causing you to (perhaps ironically) stall your late Mother’s car.
But ‘one year on’ is a worthy time of reflection.
My year in review pretty much chronicled the adventures I shared with family and friends in the 11.5 months following my Mum’s death. It was met with some lovely comments, especially referring to this part of the post: “you can go on to do great things, you can live the life that person would have wanted you to”.
Think you couldn’t possibly adopt such a positive approach to a truly Gawd awful situation? I think you could. Here’s how:
Embrace the genuine support offered to you
They’ll be coffee, cake, wine and as many opportunities to talk about ‘it’ as you like. Or not talk about ‘it’, if you don’t want to. Not only is it good to get out from under the duvet to meet folk and have a genuine reason to wash your hair, but sympathetic ears will even pay for your cappuccino or your Pinot Noir. Real friends know when not to push it too. They’re pretty good at detecting your “F*ck off now” radar so you can be left to your own devices as and when needed. Be sure to make the most of the network you have around you.
Realise it’s ok to start over (and over, and over…)
With every will in the world, not every day turns out to be full of rainbows and unicorns. But this shouldn’t stop you in your tracks. Grant yourself a temporary wallow in woe, broker a little deal with yourself about when you’re going to come out of said pit of woe and go for it. Track down those unicorns, chant some hideously twee self affirming mantra in the mirror until you feel like a total d*ckhead and you’re left holding your sides from laughing so loudly at yourself. Plough on.
Be a little bit selfish
Do what you need to do. Consider it part of your recovery regime. Can’t be bothered to make dinner? Say so or ask someone else to do it. Need to spend two extra hours in bed at the weekend? More than fine. Want a workout more than you want to listen to a third cousin twice removed moan about her cheating boyfriend? Politely cancel on her.
Since freelancing, Fridays are my ‘all about me’ days. I try not to do any formal work, I get out and about, I do something a bit different, something I know I’ll really enjoy. It’s a little step back from the coal face, the daily grind and a wee chance to recuperate.
She (/ He) lives in you
Oh yes, yes she does.
There are wonderful and the not so wonderful bits – as my husband quite often reminds me, mid shouting match.
Genetics, nature and nurture all count for so much. Whether that person’s blood connects you or not, someone you’ve truly loved has invariably hugely influenced and shaped you. You may miss talking things through with them, but chances are they’ve left you primed in such a way you’d know what they’d do anyway. Continue to celebrate life in a way that acknowledges all that person passed on to you.
So much easier said than done some days than others I can appreciate, but that’s how I tend to muddle through things.
I rounded off my Mum’s eulogy with these three gems that mean a heck of a lot to me. Cut them out, pop them in your wallet. They work well as a daily check list:
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Be grateful. Grateful for your little lot
Laugh, a lot, you look so much better when you’re smiling.