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.



Kiran, like you I lost my mom on Christmas eve. In my case it was one year later. I still feel it every single day. I know that howl. I had been my mom's caretaker for four years. I had to leave my career to do it, but my mom wanted to live out her last days in her own home. Taking care of her, giving something back, was the greatest blessing of my life. That doesn't make it hurt any less. I was with her when she took her last breath. She died with her eyes open, looking at me and holding my hand. I was numb when they came to take her body away. Because it was Christmas eve, it took a while. I just sat next to her bed getting in that last gaze. I put her two little dogs on the bed with her. They didn't know. They just curled up next to her and took a nap. I wish that I hadn't known that she was truly gone. I woke up on Christmas morning. Once I got the cobwebs out of my head, I was hit with the reality of what had happened. Mom was gone. There I was a full grow man, like a lost child howling for my mom. A year and a half later I still howl, whimper, cry, and curl up on the floor. For me it has been a little over a year and a half. That is nothing. People who have suggested that I should be over it by now just don't understand. When I first lost mom, the phone just rang off of the hook. I had so many well wishers, so many shoulders to lean on. After a few weeks, I guess for them life was back to normal. I was still grieving. I still am. I have never known that type of unconditional love. I have never given that much unconditional love. I sometimes joke that no one will ever love you like your mama or your dog. There is a lot of truth in that. There is no time limit for grief. This is what I have learned about grief... IT IS. Maybe we will get better, maybe we will not. I don't know. It's too early for me and everyone's story is different. I can see my mom in nearly everything that I encounter in my day. I once talked to a counselor who tried to teach me coping skills when the grief was too much. Her suggestions seemed inane to me. I finally asked her, "Do you still have your mom?" She told me that she did. That was the end of the conversation for me. You have to be in the club to understand. Thank you for your article. The date of your mom's death hit very close to home. You say, "Mum." I say, "Mama." Different names but the intent is the same. The name, the word, it means love.

Posted by Brett

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