Monday, November 12, 2012

And how is your Mum?

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".


  1. Oh Claire, such a beautiful post. So glad you have some many people who know what to do. The hammer is a brilliant idea x

  2. Oh Claire that is gorgeous. I had been thinking about you and your have captured it beautifully and i am sure your mum is so grateful for her beautiful daughter xx

  3. Tears. Thinking of you. And your mum. Heartbreaking & beautiful.
    Heidi xoxoxo

  4. I love the hammer idea too Claire. I have meant to write and send you my love and best wishes. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man. Your Mum too. xxxxx

  5. I love the hammer idea. I am SO happy your Mum - and you by proxy - have these people around, the real people who do things to help. Love to you my friend - today and every day. xxx

  6. Oh Claire, I only just caught up with your sad news and I'm so terribly sorry to hear about you losing your Dad. I've read your last few posts and each has moved me to tears. I'm sure your Dad is following along wherever he is and would be proud.

    And I think a chain saw sounds very therapeutic - your Mum sounds wonderful.
    Thinking of you all xx

  7. Summed it up perfectly Clairey Bear!! I will print this out and read it to Mum (Aunty Julie) when I go over Thursday. She will be glad to know your Mum has such a wonderful support network.
    Love you guys heaps. xoxox

    1. was thinking mum would like this,
      Maybe let Ailz know you expect her to keep the hammer for 50 years! LOL
      Lots of klove to you all (and a hug for Andy's lot too please)

  8. With support like that, your Mum will come through the other side!
    I love that she chopped that tree down, I love that she sought out the chain saw and the lesson to learn how to use it. I love her strength and her willingness to keep on keeping on... your mum is amazing. She will be ok, one day

  9. Beautiful post Claire, thank you for sharing - it gives me more of an idea on how to be there for others who are grieving x

  10. It's just over a year now since my dad passed away and I still get asked the question. My brother and I lived in the capital of our State while mum was about 3hrs north. Fortunately she leads a busy life but we talk about dad and how we feel all of the time. We don't shy away from the topic.

    My mum's had an excellent support network and my dad was well-known in our small town.

    I've recently moved close by - I suspect my decision to move was partially because I've felt more alone and conscious of 'family' (I don't have my own, it's just me).

    I remember writing a post weeks and weeks after dad had passed and noting that I was just feeling sadder and sadder.

    It is a terrible time.


    1. Hi Deb, I understand why you moved, I hope it helped to lessen the sadder and sadder feeling and that you are starting to feel a little more comfort.

  11. Oh hun! Glad your mum is finding strength, sending you both love and hugs xx

  12. Mum died just over a year ago but when Dad died 5 years ago the alzheimers had Mum in its grips and somehow I think this protected her from the grief. Doesn't matter how old we become, it's still awful to lose your parents. Their regrets is what weighs on me most. Your mother sounds like a tough little cookie, love the hammer pressie. xx

  13. Another beautiful post, Claire. You are very inspiring to be able to articulate so well the shit sandwich you've been served and to find strength in those who will help your Mum. We're thinking of you all, especially your Mum, and you're right, how do we say 'happy birthday'?

  14. Oh Claire I can't imagine how hard this is on you all. You are so right, all those little private moments they shared how hard would it be to just not have them anymore. Take care of you and your Mum. xx

  15. I love the hammer idea. Thinking of you.

  16. An excellent post of summing up some of the grieving process and finding out who your true friends are. It takes time and I find it's best to be kept busy.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  17. I'm so sorry you've lost your dad, and yes, the grief for your mum must be terrible. My stepfather died this year after a very short illness, and has left my mother utterly bereft and joyless. It doesn't help that I wasn't particularly close to him, so I can't offer the sort of comfort that comes from shared grief. It is pretty ghastly really. Just wanted to say she has started going to a group for widows/widowers and it helps a little I think. Maybe there is something like that around for your mum. I love your blog.


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