Two years is nothing when you’ve lost your mum

Posted by Kiran Sidhu

Two years on I see my mother's untimely death as a defining moment in my life; it has changed me, shaped me, taken away any innocence, swamped me, it has filled my mind, taken my heart hostage and changed the past. I say it has changed the past because memories of past events, before she died, have changed. Otherwise innocuous memories have become painful, because they are memories of what was before, before it happened, before cancer happened, before death came knocking at our door. I knew her death would change the future, but I never thought that it would also change the past. 


My mother's death has dictated my life for most of two years and now I can feel it has morphed into an almost gentle narration. I know her death will narrate the rest of my life. The narration changes from gentle storytelling and guidance to unspeakable horror of losing her, the kind of horror you have when you're five years old and you lose your mother briefly in the supermarket and all your nightmares come true. My life now reads like a poem; a lament for my mother.


Death had never felt so real to me as it did when she died, even though it had taken away loved relatives in the past. I see death as a visible formidable force now. I will never forget how death crept into my mother's hospital room a week before she died, just before she fell into a coma. I remember how it slipped from underneath the door and sat in the corner of the room like sumo wrestler, so palpable and apparent was its presence. For a week it swam around the room creating shadows, it teased us and we prayed that it would leave. Its presence grew bigger and bigger until the fifth day it claimed my mother, it took her under its cloak of darkness and like a gigantic poisonous mushroom it has shaded my life. 


Everyone has a defining moment, the moment their life changed irrevocably. This is mine. And in that moment when time stood still, I was given new eyes and senses; things look and smell different than they did before. I now stop when I walk pass a rose bush, I smell the rose and I understand its purposeful life, its connection with pollen and bees. But there are days when everything's muted and vanilla and I no longer can smell the roses. 

Two years on I understand how the loss of one important life can unravel the lives of so many. I now know that the death of a giant of a person, like my mother was to us, can undo the rest of our individual lives, look at the lives you undid, mum. The cushion that said 'Home', that sat so quietly and innocently on the sofa, has been picked at, its embroidery and letters so brutally unravelled. Home was a feeling that now lies dormant.

New Years' eve felt especially traumatic, not only was it the day that she was buried, but it marked the movement of time. Never before have I felt the world move on its axis so profoundly. I have never been so reluctant to embrace a new year, I'm not comfortable with the way it's making my mother a part of history, making her as part of history as much as, say,  Anne Boleyn. 


The grief and the pain of loss from losing my mum has not disappeared, it's forever present,  it's like a gentle rustle of leaves in the wind and other times it's a tornado. 


We maybe into another year mum, but you're no further away than you were last year or the year before that, because love, as I've come to realise, two years on, transcends space and time.


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