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A Tired Refrain

But it is my refrain.

I want my Mother, my Mother is Dead.

Months ago I was listening to Pamela Stephenson in conversation with Richard Fidler, or someone similar. Stephenson was talking about her latest book Sex Life: How Our Sexual Experiences Define Who We Are  By asking the audience how many times a day they thought about sex, and confiding that she thought about sex at least ten times before she even got out of bed, Stephenson encouraged her audience to really concentrate of those fleeting sexual thoughts and to be honest with their response to her question. Not surprisingly we think about sex an awful lot through out the course of the day.

Of course by then, I was thinking about sex as well, as that was where the conversation had led me. As I was trying to work out just how many times a day I thought about throwing “The Spouse” to the ground and having my evil way with him, my internal dialogue drifted down a different path and I started to think about how many times a day I thought about my Mother.

Thoughts of my mother and the constant ache that is her loss, play in the back of my psyche like a quiet soundtrack of grief, with occasional loud cymbal clashes of hurt,  punctuating the song with sharp flashes of pain.

I want my Mother, my Mother is Dead.

My daughter rang me last night to talk about Amy. Veronica told me that she had written a post sharing her frustrations at just how difficult Amy is to parent at the moment. Mum is the person Veronica needs to talk to about Amy, not me. Veronica needs the practical advice that only her grandmother can give her, as Mum successfully parented a stubbornly defiant, girl child of her own.

This excerpt from Veronica’s latest blog post describes the challenges she is facing now with her wonderfully feisty daughter.

TIME OUT is my other weapon in my ever decreasing arsenal, as she shouts at me that she WILL NOT GO and YOU CAN’T MAKE ME and YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

It’s frustrating and admirable how defiant she is in the face of two parents staring her down. Even as I march her to time out, with, if I’m being honest, the help of her ear because there was no other option short of bodily lifting her, I am proud of her spirit and of her anger, and her ability to decide what she wants and aim for it no matter what.

I can not give my daughter what she needs. I am next to useless to her in situations like these because all I can do is glory in the fact that my grand daughter so like me. As I make sympathetic sounds and offer useless advice, inside I am secretly thrilled to bits with this evidence of my grand daughters spirit. Veronica knows this and it breaks my heart a little bit more.

I want my Mother, my Mother is Dead.

We are not allowed to grieve in Australia. We are certainly not allowed to grieve for the inappropriately long time that I have been grieving for my mother. It is coming up to three years, surely you must be over it by now, this grief of yours Kim is a tired refrain.

It might well be a tired refrain, but it is my refrain.

I want my Mother, my Mother is Dead.

The writing of this post was triggered by reading  this article, The Love of my Life by Cheryl Strayed

I am okay at the same time as I am not okay. I am supported by my close friends, as well as good online friends, but that support doesn’t stop me from wanting my Mother and being broken by the fact that my Mother is dead. Again and again and again.

I want my Mother, my Mother is Dead.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anne powles April 27, 2012, 9:59 am

    My mother physically died 22 years ago, but mentally almost 30 yearsago. I think of her every day, but I would no longer cll it grief. That can fade ( just as the physical imperative to pin your spouse to the ground whilst thinking of sex!). My sorrow is often for her, for what she missed in not seeing and knowing my “Amys”.

    I have often used her memories and wise words in dealing with such situations. I think your Amy is probably going to benefit more from knowing you, and also the wise things your mother showed you.

    Memories do not fade but over time the feelings of loss can morph into feelings of gratitude and even (surprising to me) positive emulation at times. I recently wrote a little piece on my mother, after all this time!

    • frogpondsrock April 28, 2012, 9:15 am

      Thank you for commenting, My father was killed in a car accident 31 years ago and I still miss him, not the man himself, but the concept of “a father” When I was in my early 20s my friends all had fathers who were always fixing things or doing things or were just there for them and I wanted a father for myself as well.
      Oh yes Amy has a very staunch ally in me, I relate oh so very strongly to my grand daughter. I am just lacking the experience to be able to help my daughter parent her daughter.

  • river April 27, 2012, 10:10 am

    Grief has no time limits Kim, it gets easier to bear, but you never really get over it.

    • frogpondsrock April 27, 2012, 8:35 pm

      Yes River, I agree with you 🙂 thanks lovely

  • Toushka Lee April 27, 2012, 11:30 am

    you’re right about the allowance of grief. People expect you to be over things in a time frame they are comfortable with.
    Big love to you Kim

  • Rachel @ The Kids Are All Right April 27, 2012, 11:58 am

    I don’t think 3 years is very long at all. I expect when it happens to me that I will miss her and grieve for her for a very long time, if not forever. I’m not very good with death. I imagine you just have to find a new way of living – where you live as you did before, but without them alive and present. It is a good reminder to appreciate everything we have while we have it. Thank you for a thought provoking post.

    • frogpondsrock April 27, 2012, 8:16 pm

      You are welcome Rachel 🙂 and you are also right, it is a new way of living.

  • Cassandra April 27, 2012, 1:00 pm

    I never met my Nana Terry (my mother’s mother). Last November was (I think) 27 years since she died, and I just turned 25. Every year between the death anniversary and the funeral anniversary (just over a week) my mum is a wreck, even now.
    Every year my father and some of her other presumably well-meaning friends tell her to get over it, it’s been to long, she can’t be sad anymore.
    I just help her be sad until she’s finished on her own, by not saying anything, and sometimes sitting near her.
    I would help you be sad too, but from over here, unfortunately.
    Big hugs!

    • frogpondsrock April 27, 2012, 8:05 pm

      You are lovely Miss. truly lovely. I am so pleased you are there for your Mum. xx

  • Rusty Hoe April 27, 2012, 1:14 pm

    Oh Kim, I wish I could reach through this damn computer and give you a hug right now. Grief is such a personal thing, why we try and impose timelines on others I’ll never know. Wish I knew how to help soothe the pain for you, but all I can send is my support and my shoulder here across the ether should you need it.

    • frogpondsrock April 27, 2012, 8:04 pm

      You just did my lovely one 🙂 Sometimes I think these posts of mine portray me as a quivering wreck sobbing in a corner all day. But I am fine for 90% of the time and can think about my Mum happily and then 10% of the time I am bereft. Also did You see the photos I posted for you on Sunday Selections last week? I was thinking of you being couch bound and gave you a view.

  • Mrs Woog April 27, 2012, 1:23 pm

    I cannot imagine that that pain ever really goes away x

    • frogpondsrock April 27, 2012, 8:02 pm

      It is a fluid thing Mrs Woog. I can smile at memories of Mum and be perfectly fine for days and days on end. But then something will happen and BAM I am stabbed with the pointy end of the grief stick. I am mostly okay. But you are right, the missing Mum is a constant.

  • Tracey April 27, 2012, 7:04 pm

    Kim, did you happen to see a recent episode of Insight about grief? Presented some interesting and differing perspectives. Twas thought provoking. The conclusion seemed to be that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that grieving for someone can be a lifelong process. A wise soul on the show said something like ‘grief is love’. You wouldn’t want to ‘get over’ the love, would you? Xx

    • frogpondsrock April 27, 2012, 7:59 pm

      A friend tweeted or facebooked the link to me Trace, but I was just too fragile to want to go there. I had just come out the other side of the sadness that Mum’s birthday and Easter envelopes me with. April is a shitty month for me and I find it more difficult than June, which is the month that mum actually died.

      Grief is Love, thank you. yes it is.

  • Elephant's Child April 27, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Grief is a cold hard bitch who pokes her talons into our eyes. Just when we think we are coping she pops up laughing to remind us we are wrong. As far as I can see, you grieve for as long as you need to. My father has been dead for over twenty years now. We had a difficult relationship. And I still find myself thinking I must show him this, I must tell him that. And opening up a wound I thought had scabbed over if not healed. My mother the same. Be kind to yourself in this shitty month.

    I do however love that your feistiness is growing up again.

    • frogpondsrock April 27, 2012, 9:04 pm

      Yes. I hear you. 🙂 And I glory in the woman Amy will become at the same time as my heart hurts for my daughter trying to parent such a feisty free spirit. 🙂

  • One Too Many April 27, 2012, 11:00 pm

    I think you are right Kim. I think we are not allowed to grieve in Australia. It seems once the funeral is over and everyone has given you “time” (be that one week or one year) and they have forgotten – you are still left with the grief..
    Your mother is dead..You get to grieve as long as you like. She was your mother…….Hugs…

    • frogpondsrock April 28, 2012, 9:21 am

      Yes. Thank you. The phone rang constantly in the lead up to Mum’s funeral and it nearly drove me mad. After the funeral there was total silence from all the family that had rung so constantly beforehand. I felt quite abandoned. My BFF rang me every few days and let me cry and I don’t think she will ever know just how much I valued those calls. My Mums very close friends were also very good and emailed me on birthdays and other anniversaries, which softened the hurt as well. But I mostly grieved here on the blog and it was comments like yours, people who understood me but were still virtual strangers that helped me the most.
      Thank you

      • One Too Many April 28, 2012, 6:12 pm

        I am finding blogging to be good for the soul too..I’m just thinking though if I had found it years ago I might have saved heaps of $ ( from happy pills & councellors..) and heartache!!

        • frogpondsrock April 28, 2012, 6:19 pm

          Blogging has been wonderful. The community I have found has saved my sanity quite a few times.One good friend sent me a huge box of chocolates from Florida that had me giggling for days. My readers have become my friends and it is quite lovely 🙂

  • Suzie April 28, 2012, 9:29 am

    It was always strange how the week before the anniversary of Dad’s death was so hard for me, so many things went wrong. Now I’m learning to anticipate it things are easier but I still miss him even though this year will be 24 years.

    • frogpondsrock April 28, 2012, 10:34 am

      April 2011 was very hard for me because I was doing a research assignment at the time and I was researching myself, so I was picking emotional scabs as well to see where some of my Art comes from. This year I thought I would just be able to cruise through April ( Mums birthday is April 11 and Mum adored Easter as it was always tied in with her birthday) and Easter because I didn’t have the added burden of self analysis.
      This April has been just as hard as last year was. So next year I will be better prepared and I will make sure that I don’t have too heavy a workload so that I can just faff about doing work that doesn’t require too much of myself.
      I think the trick we are learning Suzie is to be kind to ourselves. 🙂

      • Suzie April 28, 2012, 2:46 pm

        Yep, that’s it. I tried clearing my workload for that week and that seems to help a little.

        I think I remember you telling me about April last year. It would have been incredibly hard.

  • Pixie April 28, 2012, 1:49 pm

    I hear you and I totally understand. My mum has been gone for 28 yrs now. I never knew my father and my grandparents had both passed away. My mum never saw any of her 5 granddaughters.
    The grief you have from a mother dying,you never get over it,you just learn to live with it.

    Many many hugs

    • frogpondsrock April 28, 2012, 6:23 pm

      Thank you lovely. 🙂 I MUST do the photo shoot for you soon as well. gah I keep on forgetting.

  • carmen@musingnmayhem.com April 28, 2012, 4:34 pm

    I’m not sure we can put a limit on grieving. That is an unrealistic expectation.
    My close friend lost her precious six year old daughter just over 3 years ago. There is not a day I don’t think or grieve for her. For my friend, that is every minute.
    My son survived against his 0% odds given after he was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer. I still grieve for the loss of the parenting journey I *thought* I was on… as well as the child I believed I had. I am eternally grateful he is here… but I’m still grieving over 10 years later.
    There is no way we can say that any amount of grieving is enough. It isn’t.

  • FMIDK April 28, 2012, 11:13 pm

    My heart goes out to you. I’ve had more experience with grief than I’d like. It’s a bit over 25 years since my best friend, her sisters and another friend were killed. I think there’s days that pass that I don’t think of them, maybe. I know that when I think it’s not as raw and all out painful. It’s not the crippling pain of knowing their deaths were deliberate. But geez, I miss my best friend (and her sisters) so freakin much.
    I’ve learnt to worry less about ‘acceptable’ ways and times to grieve. Grief just is. And that’s okay.
    I’ve watched others and seen so many have their ‘hard times’ year after year – whether they accept it or not, whether they expect it or not.
    I hope you can be gentle with yourself.
    (I hope I made some sense, I’ve realized I’m more sleepy than I thought)

  • Liz April 29, 2012, 10:34 am

    Yes, grief just is. And grief is love. I have moments of joy, longing, sorrow and pain about my mum still, almost 22 years later, and sometimes all in the same day or week. Grief creates a new way of being in the world, a new normal. There is no right and wrong, no “way” to grieve. Grief just is. Just love yourself through it, and love what is now. And remember that we all send our love to you, just as you do to us.

    • frogpondsrock May 21, 2012, 7:54 am

      Thank you Liz 🙂 Jebaru has just left a lovely comment below yours that speaks to me. Jebarus says, “When you’ve loved someone every single day of your life, there’s a compelling argument for missing them every single day of your life.” Which is so true, and so simple that I had been missing that piece of information for a few years now. Thankyou for allowing me to grieve here and supporting me so well. xx

  • Jebaru May 20, 2012, 4:40 pm

    When you’ve loved someone every single day of your life, there’s a compelling argument for missing them every single day of your life. And to anyone who says differently – as Amy would so wisely say! – “They’re not the boss of you.”

    • frogpondsrock May 21, 2012, 7:51 am

      Honestly Jebaru, I hadn’t thought of it like that before. Of Course you are right. THANK YOU