Recently two of my best friends each lost a parent, and inevitably it reminded of my own loss two years ago when my own Mum passed away. Since that day I’ve been thinking a lot about life. On the surface, I must look like I have gone back to normal, but deep down I know that I shall never be the same again.
When it first happened, I felt like I was operating in a surreal vacuum, weighed down with a heavy heart, whilst others’ lives continued around me at a crazy pace, like some dream sequence from a film. The earth kept on spinning, days still dawned over and over, and, to quote Eliot Ness in the Untouchables, “Some part of the world still cares what colour the kitchen is.” The trivialities of day-to-day life suddenly seemed totally irrelevant.
As one would expect in a vacuum, joy was sucked out and mental function was dulled. Thankfully, mental clarity kicked in after the initial shock had subsided, but it took the best part of two years for my interest in life to be restored, and then only as a shadow of its former self. It’s not that I live under a cloud of depression. Far from it. It’s just that my once careless approach to life has been superseded by a more mindful existence, framed very much by life lessons.
For two years, I have rerun past scenes in my head. How I wish I had taken more time with Mum. How I wish I had done such-and-such but not something else. The realisation that I can never have those moments again feels like time wasted and brings with it a renewed sense of loss. It is indeed true that life is not a rehearsal. Each moment, each action, each decision, is the real thing.
Reflection too has given me better insight on my mother’s own grief many years before. Widowed at only 49 years of age, her only daughter (me) went to college seven years later, never to return, and just months after this, her own mother died. At an age barely above mine now, she had suffered incredible loss and would live on her own for her remaining 37 years. Recently, whilst I was grieving for my own loss, I found myself not only stepping into her shoes, but grieving for all her losses too. At long last, I understood how her life experiences had shaped her views and character. It made me realise so much about this woman who I had known only as my mother. It was then, whilst looking at life through her eyes, that I could forgive her all the silly things which I had perceived to be “wrong”. It was then too that I started learning to forgive myself for not being fully present all those times in the past, for it was only in loss, that I had started to appreciate the true value of every moment.
Don’t take anything for granted.
Certainly, don’t take life for granted.
It’s not a rehearsal.
Appreciate each moment, including the small and the big things.
Appreciate all the lovely people in your life.
Give these people your time.
They are precious.
So too is the time you spend with them.
The colour of your kitchen does NOT matter.
This post is dedicated to Mum
And inspired by my lovely blogging friend Debbie – of Forgiving Connects (see her latest blog post here https://forgivingconnects.com/2017/07/21/todays-forgiving-fridays-wow-a-big-decision/)