It’s been a while since i’ve been able to write.   Literally.

I have not written a word since this last post. Not a diary entry. Not a blog post. Not a morning page. Not a line of my book. Not the best thing to admit as a new author!

In fact sitting down to write this has taken me days.  Today I have done every piece of DIY and cleaning I can find to avoid sitting down and facing a blank page (but no, still haven’t tackled the side yard.  I’d rather face my demons than that demonic disaster).

So finally here I am. A blank page. I will finally confront my thoughts.

It’s a month since my mum died.  I have written so much about her, in this blog, in my first book, in my diaries, in letters, in everything. So much came from her or was because of her, or was for her.

And maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to write. I’ve done lots of reading, lots of sorting and filing and to-do lists and work. I’ve done lots of sleeping and telly watching and talking. I’ve done lots of chocolate and wine and gin. But I haven’t been able to write. Because I don’t know what words will come out. I’m afraid of what words will come out. I’m ashamed that no words are there to come out. No thoughts. Just a blank space which won’t fill a blank page.   Or there are too many thoughts… too many everyday things that are taking up my time so that it’s not so much a blank space as a blanketed space, my grief smothered and muffled by the sheer weight of everything that is going on. The day after she died I was involved in a major car crash so I have had to find a new car, get intensive physio, dose up on pain killers. I’ve had to catch up on work, I have had to prepare for the final Separation meeting. I’ve had to get the girls to and from school and make a million meals.

I feel guilt that my life is going on. I feel relief that my life is going on. I have spent five years grieving for my mum while she was still alive, I don’t know how to grieve for her now that she’s gone.

I have tried to start several posts. But I couldn’t find my voice.  I had so much to write, I didn’t know what to write.

I started blogging a hundred years ago to write about the gruesome and the great aspects of parenting, as I entered a world of breast-feeding and breast-beating.

I wrote about the fun and the fright, of the unimagined joy and the unexpected desperation, of the happy and horrendous, of the just mind blowing eye of the storm that is raising children.

But then, suddenly the blog became about my sandwich years, as I entered the epicentre of the eye of the storm, when on top of the baby and the toddlers I found myself changing my mum’s nappy as well.  That went on for over five years.

The last few blogs have been pretty serious. It doesn’t get much more serious than losing a parent, losing a marriage and losing a husband.  I used to be carefree, and I  now I just look careless. That’s a lot of things to lose in one year.  It has been a gruelling, grim time, and the blog, (and my poor readers) have had to endure a lot of my outpourings of grief, anger, frustration, desperation and gin-fuelled delirium. 

So I am in a funny place..,… another phase to move this blog (and my life) into. And I need space to deal with my adjustment to a world in which my mum no longer lives.  A marriage can be left behind, a husband can be substituted, but a mum cannot.

And so, as I take my time, and find that space, I am going to go back to what was. I am going to write about the wonders of the wonderful and the wondering-what-the-hells? that is my life. I will write about my girls and my Girls (my friends) and my writing and my travels and my dad and my work. They are the wonders that makes my life full. And in doing so, of course I am still writing about my mum, because her parenting of me, and my parenting of the girls are so entwined, her words coming out of my mouth when I say really crap things like “Is there a flashing sign on the front on this house? Does it say the word Hotel anywhere on the napkins? No? Then why am I the only person to pick up dirty pants in this house?  And why when there are just four people, – that makes 8 socks per day – do I pick up at least 54 dirty ODD socks from the floor. Every day?”   And stuff like that.

After me being away so much in mum’s last weeks, they are back in my bed. And in giving comfort I am getting comfort, those little feet wrapped around mine, their skin suctioned to mine, each of us reaching out in the night.

But i feel a change coming on. Another change.  But a good change.

I got through the winter weather with box sets, and weathered the winter cold of separation with lit fires and glasses of wine.

But this last week, Spring has sprung out at me and made me jump, like my cat from the bushes when I walk by. The back door has been flung open, and I don’t yell “shut the door, you’re letting all the heat out!”  and as quickly as a winter night can fall, the spring evenings are suddenly bright and the girls want to play outside. I’ve been saying no because I haven’t dug up dog poo in at least 3 months but they go anyway, the pull of the widened sky a force greater than me.  I felt the sun on my face yesterday and for the first time since she died, I felt my mum’s hand on my cheek.

So I looked at the garden and knew it was time to re-engage.  I pulled up weeds, and picked up poo, and cut the long wet grass.  Later this week my dad will come down and together we will build a little serenity area and plant a tree for mum, a burst of colour that will keep me and the girlIMG_5096s company all summer long as we play in the garden.  And in winter I will look out at it and know that it’s promise of colour to come will keep me going. And I went to the shop and bought a paint called Forget-Me-Not. I didn’t buy it for it’s name, but because it’s the colour of my mum’s eyes.

Today I painted the bench my mum and I sat on for years, our faces turned to the sun. The bench we whiled away hours of chat and tea, the bench I sit in with my girls when we take a break from playing. And I painted it Forget-Me-Not and we will sit on it this summer, beside mum’s tree, with our faces turned to the sun. And on it I will write, and read, and watch my girls. And not forget.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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2 Responses to Forget-Me-Not

  1. Karina says:

    Hang in there. Every new day is an opportunity waiting to happen. I am in the middle of that sandwich generation. There are days that I long for it to be over and then something happens and I am petrified that it may be all over. My husband lost his mother at 19. He reminds me how lucky I am to have my mother at 47. To know the woman as she is aging, for her to know me as an adult, and to have seen my kids- her grandchildren.

    Liked by 1 person

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