Almost 10 years ago, I lost my dad. His death was sudden. Nobody could have predicated it was going to happen. He died one normal Friday evening from a heart attack. It wasn’t his first heart attack. His first heart attack was a few years before. This was his second.
I was 12 years old when he died. Sadly me and my mum witnessed it happen. I was at that age where I was old enough to understand what was happening, but I wasn’t mature enough to process the ordeal. It left me with mental scars and my mum was broken but she tried not to let it show. Her motherly instinct was to make sure me and my brother M were okay. I slept in my mums bedroom for months afterwards. I couldn’t sleep in my bedroom and I couldn’t bare the thought of mum being alone at a time like this. I heard her try to hold her tears in at night when she thought I was asleep. I heard her trying to be strong when all she wanted to do was break down. One morning my Auntie H came and sat next to mum. I pretended to be asleep. I knew if I woke up I would be asked if I was okay…and I couldn’t be arsed with that. I heard the two of them talking. I heard my mum cry. I heard her talk about how she has lost her soul mate. How unfair it was. I’ve never heard my mum so vulnerable before. I knew that I needed to try to be strong for her. She was breaking too. We had both witnessed the whole ordeal. It was hard for me to be strong for her. She was putting on such a good front it was easy to forget she was devastated. It was easy to forget that we were both there.
For about the next 4 years after my dads death, mum focused on me and M. She put us first. She did everything she could for us. She left her own feelings tucked away inside for her to deal with another time. Back then she was working in a job that her heart wasn’t in any more. This job pushed her to the edge and she broke. I remember one evening, we were driving home from one of my horse riding lessons and we decided to get a chippy tea. My anxiety at the time was awful. It affected my social skills, however I didn’t really know what anxiety was then. So we were having a debate about who should go in for the chippy and the next thing she broke down in tears. That’s when I realised she was not okay. It was still this front. The tucked away emotions were starting to break through. I mentioned to her on the way home it sounded like she was suffering from depression. A few days later she went to the doctors, was put on anti-depressants and she was referred to a counsellor. Delayed grief they said. Makes sense. She hadn’t grieved for my dad yet. Her husband for god sake! All of her attention, love and focus went on me and M. She put her own needs aside for years till she cracked. The next few months were difficult. I saw my mum grieving. I saw my mum breakdown. I saw her lose her confidence. The light that used to radiate from her was gone. There were times where I thought she was never gonna be okay again. She looked like a broken lady. She came home from her weekly counselling sessions with a red face and puffy eyes. It was upsetting to see. Part of me couldn’t help but feel slightly responsible for it. I had forgotten about her feelings. How she was coping. It gave me a chance to be there for her. Like she was for me and M. I then saw her grow. She left the shitty job and found a new path to walk down. Her confidence in herself came back and she was starting to love and appreciate herself again. She was rebuilding herself.
Me and M lost a dad that day, but my mum lost her soul mate. The person she had planned the rest of her life with. The person who she vowed love and respect. My mums whole life changed that day. She had to take on the role of a father as well as a mother but she nailed it. I’ve seen her before heart break, during heart break and after and she is by far the strongest lady I know. I’m proud to call her my mum. She gave me hope that one day I would be okay. If she could go through a heart ache like that, still put others first and turn out as confident, happy and successful as she is, I knew I could do it. The ordeal has brought me and my mum closer together. She is my rock and she has gotten me through my darkest times. I can always count on her. Even when I fuck things up, she is still there.
Witnessing my mum grieve was difficult to say the least. That one day stalked her for years and jumped on her out of nowhere. She couldn’t run away from it anymore. She had to face it. She had to work through it. Of course she knew how difficult it would be. She would have to go through that heart ache again. It was painful. It took a toll on her physical health as well as her mental and emotional wellbeing. She had a goal. There was nothing she could change. You can’t change the past. The only way to go is forward. She knew she would have to leave the past in the past. She had to accept her loss and I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been. But she did it. I’ll admit there were times I wasn’t sure if she could cope but she made it. She provides laughter, light and love to everybody around her. Her aura is filled with positive vibes that instantly make you feel better. Her compassionate energy fills you with warmth. I am blessed to be able to call her my mum. She’s everything I admire in a lady.
To anybody out there who is struggling at the moment. Don’t worry, you’re gonna nail it! When you get out of that dark hole, you’ll see life with a new perspective.
I have faith in you.
Lots of love,