We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when......
When I was 18 I moved away from my family to the nearest capital city about 500km away so the main form of communication between my mother and myself in the past 28 years has been the telephone. We speak without fail every Sunday morning, at around 9.00am. We take turns, one week she calls me, the next I call her....and we chat and catch up on whats been happening in our respective lives. We do also call during the week if something momentous or catastrophic happens in either worlds....usually grandchildren's injuries or accomplishments from me and family births and deaths from her. So I have noticed that she has begun to call me more and more during the week to find out about little issues or with news that probably could wait until our weekly catch up, but that she obviously has felt the need to find out about or tell sooner. I have no problem with this but it had me thinking....why...and today I realised why.
My mum's mum passed away late last year, at a ripe old age, and after declining health over the past few years. Grandma had moved into aged care, finally, after much prodding and poking from my mum and aunties - she really wasn't looking after herself or eating properly and was beginning to suffer slight dementia and depression. Unfortunately, before she really become settled in her new home she took a tumble and broke her hip leading to a lengthy hospital stay, further declining health and finally...blessed relief for her....death. It was what she had been asking for, praying for and hoping for for a long time but at least she didn't have to jump off the Pt Augusta bridge to obtain it (a well worn statement of hers along with "Oh, I'm getting old" which has become a favourite quote within the family and always said with love, fondness and that smile, the one with the tinge of sadness about it).
I realised today that after the past few years, and the time, effort and energy mum has had to put in to making sure Grandma was eating properly, looking after herself and trying to get her issues sorted that now she has a lot less worries, and stresses, and things to think about and get sorted. So she has started calling me more frequently in an attempt to fill the void left by the emotionally and psychologically demanding efforts of a child becoming the parent. It is her way of dealing with the grief and loss of losing her mother.
People deal with grief and loss in so many different ways. The Europeans and Middle Eastern's have it down pat....the wailing, the crying, throwing themselves in graves and the outpouring of emotion can be a wonderful healing process...when done from the heart. I don't handle grief well myself. I am an ugly crier and it bothers me that I am. If I could cry with grace and dignity like so many other women, it wouldn't be an issue but I am a self conscious crier and I am fine...until I see someone else getting emotional and teary, then it is all over. I guess I have my mother to thank for that, Dad always teased her about crying over TV shows (especially Little House on the Prairie) and that she would shed a tear when Tom caught Jerry. I prefer to do my grieving in private, when I can think about that person who had touched my life and heart in such a special and unique way and so my tears can fall uninhibited and freely without being self conscious about how I look or act - conceited I know, one of my many flaws.
The thing with grief is that is always brings up your own mortality. We all know that one day, sooner or later, we will die. And there is nothing like a funeral to make you contemplate your own life, and how you should live every moment to the fullest, and make hay while the sun shines....for at least, oh a week or two. But then we all fall back into our normal lives, our ruts and grooves and once more we are letting life pass us by, ignoring the little things that make us happy and worrying about stupid, insignificant things. So, maybe, I will start calling my mum during the week, just to tell her little things, and subconsciously letting her know I am thinking about her. Because, unfortunately, it won't be that long before I, myself, might be forced into the role of child becoming parent. Thank goodness Whyalla doesn't have a bridge!