There was no breakfast in bed last Mothers day, no burnt offerings of tea and toast delivered on a tray by my three children keen to show they love me. I had already crept out of the door before they were awake. I pulled on some clothes and sped towards the hospital that I had left just a few hours earlier. My body urging me on, my heart hoping I wasn’t too late and a pocket full of money for the carpark. My lovely nan was dying. It was a sudden illness with no time to prepare. At 88 she wasn’t young and I can’t be sad or angry that she was taken before her time but the shock still ricocheted through me. I, along with my brothers, parents and grand-dad had spent the day before sitting with her, the call had come that morning informing us that she was deteriorating that there was nothing left to do. We spent the day reminiscing about our childhood and the holidays we were taken on as we grew up.
That Mothers Day I slipped into the side room to sit with my dad and my nan, I whispered ‘Happy Mothers Day’ and planted a kiss on her cheek like I had done countless times before. Yet this time it was different as she didn’t respond to me. I sat with her for that last hour, I held her hand and talked to her as she slipped further away from us. Mum and Sam had arrived by then and the four us watched as the room became lighter as the the sun rose in the early morning sky. After she had gone we sat for a few minutes in silence each of us taking some time to reflect. I thanked the nurses and walked away taking a slow walk back to my car to take the short drive home. Silent tears fell as I drove along the still quiet streets where Mothers were waking up to their home-made cards and flowers.
The date of Mothers Day moves but, it will be a reminder this Sunday of the day we said goodbye, even though it is not quite the anniversary of her passing. It is as though we have to live through this twice. Mothers Day and her actual day of passing. Mothers day will come and this year I will have my coffee in bed with a child snuggled by me, the teen and tween will no doubt take longer to rise. I will read her handmade notes and feel her love. And later that day I will raise a glass to my nan.
The cycle of grief takes on average two years or so I have read. The first birthday, the first Christmas it is all hard after the death of someone who meant so much but now I am able to think and talk about nan without tears. Neither of my parents now have their mum on Mothers day and it makes me all the more grateful that I have mine.