*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.)