Hi, mum, things are better…

Last time I wrote a thing like this, exactly a year ago, I had drank a full bottle of wine and when I woke up the next morning my eyes were tiny slits from how dehydrated crying (and also all that alcohol) had made me. I’m not drinking tonight, but I may cry a bit. I always cry today.

I started three new jobs this year. The first was a short term contract, very hands-on and time consuming (I worked almost every day for 6 weeks) but great fun and good people and led almost directly into the second job, which I loved and would never have left had it not been for third job. I left second job with a heavy heart, some amazing friends and a lovely card, cake and gift voucher, which was nice considering the last job I left only gave me an anxiety disorder.

I have been doing third job for 6 weeks now. It’s different (very different) and it’s challenging and I like it a lot. I remember my mum was always worried I’d “drift”. Always worried about that, even before she was ill and didn’t know she wouldn’t be here to guide me. I have a drifter mentality, I think she was right about that. I don’t know where to swim to, I’m happy to wash up anywhere and make a go of it. Scratch that. Not happy to do it. I’ve always wanted to have routines and clear ambitions and know who am I and where I’m going, but the answers never revealed themselves so I’ve just been trying to float and not flounder and hope for the best. The point is that I feel like I’m closer to who I am and where I’m going now than I was before. But anyway.

What I’m trying to say is that all these new jobs means all these new people which means at some point I have to… confess, for want of a better word, that my mum isn’t alive anymore. It feels like I’m killing her every time.

It’s a dramatic thing to write down, but I can’t describe it any other way. I don’t even know how to explain how fucking… weird and horrible and claggy it feels in my brain and on my tongue when I have to consider how to word it. It makes me feel tense and it makes me feel guilty. I feel guilt when I say “my dad and my brother live in Coventry” or “I’m staying at my dad’s house” because it makes it sound like my parents just don’t live together anymore. I feel guilt when I explain what my tattoos are but don’t elaborate on the meaning because I don’t feel particularly up to it at that precise moment. I feel guilt because the perfect opportunity presents itself and I don’t seize upon it, I smile weakly, non-commital, and whoever it is I’m in conversation with continues to live under the assumption I have a normal family unit, all present and correct and it makes me feel like a liar and it’s just all guilt all the time. My entire grieving experience centres around guilt. It’s suffocating.

Sometimes I feel confident in my ability to speak without my voice wobbling so I will just come out with it at a relevant time and I will still feel guilty for making it real, for making my mum dead to people who abstractly would have thought she was alive and I will also feel guilty for putting those people in a weird position where they have to say something hollow and trite but well meaning and I will have to pretend to accept those words graciously. And it’s not their fault, and I don’t know what to say when someone dies either (hence the guilt) but I don’t know… maybe we should work on that, as a species? Work on doing better when we talk about dead people, so it doesn’t feel like a mere formality when we express condolences, so the whole thing doesn’t make me feel G U I L T Y. I’m so tired of guilt.

I learn something new about my grief every year. I’m doing much better than I was doing this time last year. I feel good about my friends. I feel good about my career. I hate everything about where I’m living but I’m moving out on Sunday and I feel good about that. I’ve been on kind of a downer about boys this year, but the numerologist (!) I saw told me that romance was always going to be a low priority for me so in a way I feel good about that too. I certainly don’t feel bad about it, that’s for sure. I’m very Rihanna about the situation. I dumped everyone (everyone) in my toxic extended family and I’m talking to my dad again so that situation has improved a lot. I worry about my brother less. I feel inspired to do things that interest me more. I went to Vegas. I wrote a lot. I shook myself off and re-fucking-forged myself after the shitshow fiasco of #2014. I keep proving to myself I’m resiliant. It’s my best quality. I think my mum would be proud. I hope my mum would be proud. It just makes me feel guilty.

She would have been 53 today. Happy birthday, mum. I miss you.

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