I have lost my Dad, it's utter crapville.
My Mum has lost much more.
Mum has lost the love of her life, the person she has shared everything with for over 40 years, after meeting as teenagers they haven't made many decisions alone. They have shared thousands of secrets and confided in each other the way those who have such a blessed relationship can do.
My Mum has lost the person that you share those little moments with, the laughs and sniggers at stuff on tv, the secret eye rolls that only the two of you understand in social situations, the person that you are happy to travel anywhere in the world with. The person to share your fears with.
Mum has lost the light bulb changer, the flat tyre fixer, the tree chopper downer and the heavy bags carrier. She has lost the person to share a cuppa tea with and the man to hold her on days when you feel life has served you a shit sandwich with a urine chaser.
How is Mum?
Mum is ok.
She has filled Dad's compost heap with the flowers that are now all dead.
Sometimes people visit and when they leave they say 'call if you need anything'.
There are others who call Mum and say 'exactly what can I do for you today?' This second bunch of people, I am relying on them more than they know, I know they are the people who will be there for the long haul well past the last card arriving. There are also the people that just turn up at the door with food, lovingly cooked and ready to be eaten and the lady who arrived with toilet paper, panadol and coffee, there are friends who arrive in old work clothes and just sit and pull out weeds from the garden, just being there doing stuff, pottering around and being available, they make no demands they are just there.
Precious people indeed.
There are people who give support by giving what they can. Like the hairdresser who opened after hours so Mum didn't have to sit with other people, the Indian restaurant that cooked a special dish when Mum wasn't really eating.
The kindness is everywhere.
All of these people, they probably have no idea how wonderful and how important they are to us right now. Every one of them.
They are a reminder to me of the wonderful friendships my parents have cherished and the community they enjoy being a part of.
To answer the question though, how is Mum REALLY?
My Mum is pretty amazing, she is pretty sad, a little angry and taking one day at a time to cope with the loss of the man she shared two thirds of her life with. They have shared their entire adult lives together so it is pretty daunting to take those next steps alone.
But I see glimpses. Little cracks that allow the tiniest bit of light. Just enough to confirm to me that with all the support and help from her friends and community Mum will make it.
Last week Mum asked me to go online and buy her a chain saw. It arrived in the mail and my uncle taught her how to use it. My Mum is just five foot one (on tippy toes) she may be gutted about this new life alone but she kept looking at this tree she hated, so she grabbed that chain saw and she cut that damn tree down.
This weekend my Mum turns 60. No one knows what to buy her, how to celebrate and what to say.
I think I might get her a hammer, and engrave it with "You're Smashing".