On the 20th of December 2020, my life changed forever with one phone call. The phone call I’ve been silently dreading for a very long time. The one that meant I would never talk to me Mam again, hug me Mam again, brush her hair, hold her hand, talk rubbish with and tell her I love her.
My legs stopped working. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t take it in. I couldn’t do what in any other time I would have done. Get in my car and go to me Dad. Just as well really as I was definitely not in a safe frame of mind to drive 3 hours down the motorway.
The next day, I went for a community covid test so I could go to me Dad with some hope that I wasn’t carrying the virus. We spent two precious days together grieving while I tried to find everything I would need to register her death because me Dad couldn’t say the words out loud.
He refused to come home with me for Christmas, and refused to let me stay. I don’t really remember Christmas Day. I didn’t see in the New Year. I did get another community Covid test and come back.
I packed for three days, expecting to head home ready to be back in school on Tuesday, the first day our children were due back in after the holidays. On seeing me Dad, how lost he was with everything that needed to be done, I called my Head on Sunday to ask for compassionate leave to get everything necessary done, because once I leave, that’s it until Easter at the earliest. And I’ve felt ridiculously guilty about it since, even though I know it was definitely the right thing to do for both of us.
I’ve spent a week sorting through paperwork, visiting banks, phoning companies and repeating the words, “I need to inform you me Mam has died,” to save me Dad from some of the pain. It still doesn’t feel real. With no proper funeral service and wake, I doubt it will. We will celebrate her life when family and friends can get together safely, but who knows when that will be?
My whole adult life I’ve wondered what being a proper adult would feel like. After a few weeks of extreme adulting, I finally know, and I do not like it one bit.
In losing me Mam, I’ve lost the wind beneath my wings. Because that’s who she was. My hero. The most courageous person I have ever known.
Today, we say a very quiet goodbye.
And then tomorrow, because I know she’d kick my arse if I don’t, I smile, thank my blessings, and get back to daily life, starting with the drive home.