Not completely, anyway. Sometimes it looks fine to the outside world but it’s always going to have that little twinge, like an arthritic hip in the morning. You’re always going to walk with a subtle limp, that people may not even notice, but you do.
Yesterday, it was four years since my mother died. I write this on the couch, staring at the spot in which the hospice-funded electronic recliner sat for the last couple of months of her life. Funny how four years have passed and yet I remember that night vividly. Checking my voicemail during a break in parent-teacher interviews, handing my computer to a friend and telling her I didn’t know when I would be back. Breaking every speed limit as the tears streamed down my face on the forty kilometres to get here. The rest of the night you can read about here… But I remember.
I knew there would be times it hurt. The big times. When I became a mother. When I made the decision to leave my marriage, I wished she’d been there to talk to. I expect to feel like total emotional garbage on July 31 every year. What I didn’t expect was the small things, those little tugs and pulls that remind me that I’m motherless at the age of 31, a still fairly unique position amongst most of my friends.
That twinge hits when I hear my friends talking about their mothers looking after the kids; when I see the mother of a girl from school pushing her grandchild about town. It hits when CJ does something quirky and I don’t have the chance to ask if I did the same. It surprises me in the most random of moments when I realise all over again that I will never get the chance to experience anything new with her. It throbs harder when someone asks what my mum would think of certain things I do or choices I make – well, I guess we’ll never know, will we? I’ve just got to go through life listening to my heart and doing what I think is right, hoping that I’m making her proud.
You can function without the people you love; I know that from experience. You can have joy and laughter and find happiness again – I know this to be true. But there will always be those quiet moments in which you feel the prick of pain and know that underneath your shell, you’re still just a little bit wounded.