A couple of days ago I mourned the passing of my mom.
It was the anniversary of her death and each year around this time I feel anguished. I so desperately wanted this year to be different. I needed for it to be different. And it was.
The pain was still there, but I did something a bit differently this year.
First of all, I launched my new blog Memoirs of Memory Lane.
It is a blog that is not focussed on me, but on you. It is about honouring your life, your story and your legacy. It is about documenting our stories in bite size, tangible chunks that honour the life we have led, that immortalises the wisdom we have to impart.
I am especially proud of it. The engagement that I have had, as well as the support, has completely and utterly blown me away.
The passing of my mom inspired this new project. It has been an incredibly positive way to channel my grief.
Then Mr D surprised me by taking the day off. We have decided that he will take the day off every year. Because no-one should have to grieve on their own. Especially as I don’t have any family of origin close by. My dad lives in the UK, my sister in South Africa and my brother in the Caribbean. We are far flung across this incredible globe. We are also separated in our grief.
Mr D asked me what I would like to do for the day.
All I knew is that I did not want to be indoors. I am indoors a lot, and this day I did not want to be indoors.
We decided to visit my friend Mrs T. She lives about a 45 minute drive away, in a semi rural village. The drive is along an open road with countryside either side of you. All you can see is the open fields and blue skies above. It is beautiful. And cathartic.
We visited, and laughed, and ate beautiful home made muffins, and drank beautiful tea, and sat in the glowing warmth of an open fire because it was winter, but sunny outside. It was healing.
Then we went to my favourite beach – Kilcunda Beach. It is a big beach, with rugged rocks, and sand dunes. It is not really a swimming beach so it is not as popular with tourists, which means we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. It is my happy place.
As soon as I arrived, I looked out, breathed in the salty, healing, replenishing sea air. I let it slip down my nostrils and into my lungs. I felt my lungs expand. I felt the calm settle over me.
I looked at Mr C. I loved him so much for bringing me here. I loved him so much for loving me, for understanding my grief, for understanding how damaged I am and loving me anyway. I loved him so much for not seeing me as damaged, but as someone he finds beautiful and kind and soulful and for constantly telling me so. Love filled my heart and for a moment grief stepped aside.
We walked onto the beach. The sand was wet from the rains and there was a nip in the winter air. I sat on a rock and looked out onto the ocean. Seagulls screeched and flew about. It all seemed so free out there and in the sky. I opened my arms, I closed my eyes, I thought of my mom. Grief stepped back inside my heart, but it was good. It wasn’t gripping, or crushing or soul destroying. I was leaning in and it felt good.
Mr C came over and sat next to me. He put his arm gently around my shoulder. I placed my head on his shoulder and I let the tears flow.
“I miss her so much,” I said.
“I know,” he replied.
We stood up and look at our shadows. Two people, as one.
And then I wrote in the sand.
We talked and I remembered. I spoke of how my mom loved the ruggedness of bracing weather, of how when the wind would howl and whip at her, she felt more excited, more alive than ever before. As the wind picked up, I remembered how my mom would have held her face to it and felt more alive.
Dusk was on its way. It was time to leave.
We walked back up the stairs, my heart sad but a little lighter. We liked it here. I loved it here. My heart is at peace here. On the way home, I looked at the open road and found a calm I didn’t think I would experience this day. I honoured my mom and found my calm.
Grief is and always will be a part of my story. I know that and accept that now. And this was a really good way to honour that.
Until next time,