It’s been 5 years, mum…

*This is a very personal kind of post. And not a happy one. Just putting this little warning here for those of you who would rather not read this kind of thing. But to me, it’s important, so here it is*

It’s been 5 years since that godawful day. Five years since I was 13 years old, hurriedly told I’m skipping school; my mum had taken an unexpected turn is hospital. Five years since, just the morning after we were told she was getting better, we’d be able to take her home soon…well, we were told she wouldn’t be returning home at all.

And the harsh thing? She’s suffered years with multiple mental health issues. She was fighting every day, and yet it was an overnight infection that caused her body to shut down completely. Nothing could have warned us that I would be sat there that day, listening to her heartbeat on the monitor until suddenly, I wasn’t.

It’s been 5 years, and yet somehow it feels longer. It feels like an eternity ago, those days of getting used to the sudden emptiness, getting used to it being just my dad and I. Those times where I had to tell me friends why I suddenly vanished for a week, and came back somewhat different. The time when I barely ate anything for a month. The time when I didn’t want my birthday to come, just a month later, because my mum wasn’t there to see me grow older anymore.

And yet here we are. Today is a sad day. Today, my dad and I will be scattering her ashes at last. I don’t know how I’ll react. Maybe I’ll cry, as I look around and remember the last time we were there. As I remember how much she loved this waterfall, this woodland, and smile because now she’ll be part of it. Or maybe I’ll just stare, numb, because that jar of powder can’t possibly be her. How can that powder be all those times we went out walking just to take photographs, or the hours spent reading, or even her simple love for salt and vinegar flavoured crisps? It’s not. Those things only live in my mind now.

But five years down the line, I’ve reached a point where I can think of these things without it hurting. And while I’m writing this through a steady stream of tears, I’m also smiling at the memories it’s bringing up.

Like how we used to walk for hours, me climbing on anything with a foothold while she endlessly took photographs of anything and everything (though mostly nature and landscape images) to be shown on TV or used in magazines.

Or like the time when she comforted me at the age of nine, when I cried because I thought our new kitten didn’t like me (which is kind of ironic now, since he never leaves my side. Even now, he’s sat beside me).

 

I do like to think she’s watching over me. Because even though she’s gone, a huge majority of my life is influenced by her. My main hobby of reading. My full bookshelves. This blog. My booktube channel. My choice to study English Literature at University this coming September. My hope of working in Publishing when I’m older. While all these choices are mine, with most of my life devoted to my love for reading…that love for reading originally came from my mum. She encouraged my love for reading – one of my favourite memories being the times she’d take me to the library after school because I’d already read all the ones in the school library. So ultimately, she started all this. Anything book related I do, while my love is pumping through the body of it, she’s sort of like the underlying veins, guiding it along.

January 20th will forever be a tainted day to me now. And while this post is here to acknowledge that, I do have a message to give.

If you’re having a hard time – whether it’s because you’ve lost someone close to you, or because of your mental health, or you’re just in a bad situation – things can get better. You wouldn’t look at me nowadays and know all this had happened. Look for small notes of happiness. Take a moment while you’re drinking a cup of coffee to think about how lovely that moment is, taking a step away for a break and enjoying a warm drink. Think about your pets, and how they look to you for care and love. Appreciate simple evenings of having nothing to do but read, or watch movies.

More importantly, take a step back and think “I will get through this”. Because you will. Do it to prove to your friends and family that this will not eat away at you. Do it to prove to strangers that you are strong willed. If not them, do it for me, and know that even though I might not talk to you much – if ever – I’m proud of you nonetheless. Why wouldn’t I be? But most of all, do it for yourself, so you can stand up and say to the world “Screw you.” 

I know this is a sad post. A personal post. But I want to be open about things like this. Because while today is a sad day for me, it’s also a day where I can look back on that bleak time and think “look how far I’ve come”. I’m proud of where I am. I’m proud that of all the hobbies I could have chosen, it was my love for reading – a thing she started – that shone right through and flourished into this community.

Here I am today. With you guys. And I just want to say thank you for supporting me in everything. None of you will have known how your simple kindness of following my blog or youtube, leaving me nice comments and just chatting to me in general, some of you even becoming fast friends…none of you will have realised just how much I appreciate those things ❤

 

R.I.P. Mum. I love you. I miss you. And while taken away from me way too early, you live on through me and everything I do.

(Photo from when I was younger, taken just before going on one of our walks in pursuit of new photographs.)

me-mum

 



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59 thoughts on “It’s been 5 years, mum…

  1. I don’t know what to say, to be honest. I think it was brave to post something so personal. I had no idea, though I suppose that was the point. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine going through that. But I’m glad you’re making the best of it, and I’m sure your mom would be too. I hope you’re okay today. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Olivia. It’s not a topic that’s easily brought up in conversation, so hardly anyone knows *shrugs* But yeah, I’m okayy today. Spent the day with my dad going to lots of different places, so it was nice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are such an incredible and brave person Ashleigh ❤ You should be so proud of yourself, because I know your mum will be too. It takes a certain amount of courage to talk about something like this, so it just proves you have the strength to get through anything, and to then go on and inspire others to do so too is so inspiring. Thank YOU for being such a supportive, selfless and all-around lovely person ❤ I'm always always always here if you need to talk, love you lots ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thinking of you Ashleigh, I have no idea what you must be going through so I can’t offer words of advice but I hope sending positive hugs your way and know we are all here can offer you some comfort. She will be watching over you, proud of you for getting into university and knowing where you want to head with your life.
    As i’m sure i’ve told you before, i’m in my final year of studying English Literature at university so if you ever have any questions or anything then i’m here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is comforting, thank you! ❤ It's actually funny thinking I know what I want to do in life, just because it's only recently that became a manageable thing – before I had no idea aha 😆

      I'll be sure to come to you if I have any questions! For now, I've had it drilled into me what I can expect, and at the moment I'm just excited for it to come! I love English Literature, and I'm so excited to get back into it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Its really good! I still have zero clue, although I know a life in books is what I want overall!
        Just enjoy the ride, it can get stressful with the reading on an English Lit course but honestly it throws you further into your love for books and that is truly amazing and to be surrounding by people who share your passion is brilliant. I can’t wait for you to start your university journey and to hear about it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, you darling girl. To lose your mom at such a young age. I’m sure she’s watching over you, and that’s why you have (I’m sure) felt her in your heart.
    I have been fortunate for the most part, but in 2006 I lost my best friend and boyfriend to suicide. I dropped him off and he drove off into the desert and didn’t come back. He was found a day later. I miss him every day. Especially since he wrote me the note before he left, telling me that he knew I would become something and that he was holding everyone back. The depression was just too much, I guess.
    But a mother…I worry about it. I think we all do. Spreading her ashes will be a wonderful thing. And if you ever need to talk (I’m sure people say this all the time, but I’m seriously a good listener lol), I’m here. Five years…and I’m sure it never gets less painful but you’re just used to it.
    I love you girl. I hope you get through today all right. Here for you, even across an ocean. 😊😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhhh thank you so much ❤
      I'm so sorry you lost your friend and boyfriend. Words always seem a bit useless when it comes to these things, and trying to comfort others, but at least we mean them. I hope you're managing okayy too. Like you said, it's not any less painful, but you learn to lock it away nonetheless.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ashleigh, it takes amazing courage to write a post like this and you are such a lovely, supportive person – I am sure your mum is proud of you every single day. Everyone who reads this must truly admire your strength. ❤❤
    Lots of love and I hope you are okay. I remember when my mum passed away it was such an overwhelming time for my dad, brother and I and there aren’t really words to describe the feeling. If you ever want to talk, I’m here xxx ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear you lost your mum too. I hope you’re doing okayy ❤ Words really can't describe it – this entire post of mine barely touches the surface.
      Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me 🙂

      Like

  6. I’ve been thinking of what to say in response to this for ages now, but I still don’t know which words are right or what you’d need to hear. I hope today has been as easy as possible for both you and your dad and that you were able to turn scattering her ashes into another memory. I hope it was somewhere she loved, and she’s no doubt looking down on you with love and pride. I know how tough it is to lose a loved one – my grandad will be two years gone in a few months – and you just… never forget them, even though their memory can still bring pain. It’s a tricky time and can be an even worse feeling at some points, but you just have to think of the love you had for them and vice versa. Wishing you well and sending lots of love and cat cuddles. 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Charlotte ❤ ❤
      We did scatter her ashes somewhere she loved 🙂 She's part of her favourite woodland walk now, and all the time we were walking there today my dad was telling me how much she laughed at certain memories there, and pointing at things in particular she'd stop to take photos. It really was lovely. And I'm so glad I now have somewhere so full of memories to go back to whenever I feel like I need to 🙂

      I'm sorry to hear you lost your grandad. And quite recently too. I hope you're managing ❤

      Like

  7. I am so proud of you for confronting your feelings in this public way. So many people need to hear your words: “I will get through this”. and “…stand up and say to the world “Screw you.” It’s easy to allow our emotions to overtake us and paralyze us. No matter how you react today, remember– you are loved and always will be loved.

    May your mother’s memory always be a blessing to you and those who loved her.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a beautiful and courageous post that is probably helping others in a way you may not know. My heart is heavy and full for you today as you take this step in what has been a long and difficult journey. There are so many things I want to say, but something tells you me you have heard them all and you know. Much love and strength to you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have no idea what to say. It’s true, you wouldn’t think that you’ve been through this. I really admire you for writing this.

    I hope to become more grateful for things in my life in the future, nothing ever gets better while thinking about negative things.

    *wipes eye* UGH, WHO EVER IS CHOPPING ALL THOSE ONIONS BETTER STOP OR I’LL FIGHT THEM!

    ~Bless

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤ ❤ That's why I always stop and appreciate really little things like cups of tea etc 😆 Once you start doing it, it becomes a habit that you do without even thinking and it's so much easier to pull yourself out of negative thoughts 🙂

      Like

  10. Ashleigh! You have such a kind soul. You’re brave for writing this and you’re so sweet for turning this into something that can be helpful to others. I’m so sorry for your loss, but your mom is looking down on you with such love and pride. Love you, Ashleigh <333 I hope yesterday with your dad was good for both of you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s been two years to this day (21 Jan) since my grandmother died. I still cannot believe I just found this…
    Her death was a huge blow to my entire family; she was my dad’s mother and very close to all of us. I still haven’t 100% recovered from it. Your post reminded me of her and made me smile.

    Basically, what I want to say is that you’re not alone. These things are never easy; thank you for sharing this. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so sorry Ashleigh. Your mum will be looking down on you every day and will be so proud of you and everything you are achieving ❤

    The end part of this post brought a lot of things home to me, to appreciate everything. I lost my grandma to cancer 3 years ago, we only found out in January and by July she had left us, so thank you for them words.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am proud of you. Your writing was amazing and it was beautiful reading what you had written from your heart to share with us all. So from one stranger to another, I am proud of you and your strength and courage, and so is she. ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

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