My mother died in February. At the time, the virus that now traps us in our homes was little more than a rumble. Second or third story on the news, rendered insignificant by reports of heavy rain or Boris Johnson’s latest infidelity. We were lucky in many ways. We had the funeral she planned, she left us surrounded by the people she loved. For a week or two, I lingered and tried to turn her silent house back into a home, finally admitting defeat and driving back to Brighton.
Then came lock-down.
Grief cannot be neatly portioned into two weeks or one month. It comes and goes.
Mine was placed on hold.
This weekend, I’ll return to the Midlands – with written police permission – to turn her museum into something new. I’ll buy three rolls of bin bags and fill them with precious photographs, ornaments, perfumes, Tupperware boxes, handbags and headscarves.
In the days and weeks that carried us through to her passing away, my temper often frayed. I grew frustrated and angry not just at her illness, but at those around me trying to help. If a cup found its way into the wrong cupboard or someone dared vacuum a rug, I lashed out. Listening for any unexpected sounds, I lay awake, knowing that calling 999 was no longer an option. All my go-to numbers were mobile phones, people trained to deal with death.
I’m unsure how seeing her home again will change me. It would be easy to settle back to the grieving process.
I know what she’d rather happened, and plan to do everything in my power to bring life back to a too-long empty house.
Grief is a natural response to losing someone you care about. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone’s experiences of grief are individual. The important thing is to do what feels right for you. I would have struggled without the support of Marie Curie nurses. In the memory of my mother, we asked that there be no flowers at her funeral, rather donation to the organisation.
Read: Grieving in your own way