Tuesday, 26 May 2015

You know when you are completely exhausted and your mind is frazzled, you do everything wrong, your body aches, you need sleep but wake up all night, your emotions feel like they are on a plateau - you've cried so much it feels like your tears have dried up and you just cant find anything to get excited about? That's me today.

This last week has been so huge. Everyone was on such a high from my sister and (new!) brother-in-law's wedding, and then our world's came crashing down on Monday with the news about Mum. We then had my sister's Post-Wedding-Hen's-Night on the Friday, and said our goodbyes to them as they jetted off to travel the world on Sunday. And now I don't really know what to do with myself!

It's not easy to forget the stark reality that my Mum might not be around for as long as we want her to be. As if the thoughts and scenarios that consume you all hours of the day and night aren't sobering enough, then there's conversations about inheritance and holidays that might be our last with her. On the one hand it seems exciting, to all finally have a holiday with Mum and spend quality time, but then there's the reasoning behind why this may be a possibility and it's like getting hit in the heart with a sledgehammer.

And that's just me, I cant imagine how Mum must be feeling. These conversations make me awkward. (Actually, loads of things make me awkward - with all the hugging over the last week, my stepdad jokes that it's getting out of hand as I normally don't like hugs!).
These aren't conversations you really have with your parents, with the knowledge that this is real. Normally they are of the 'what if' context, not the 'when' context.

As you know from my post last week, Eddie and I are very open with our kids and explain anything they want to know. They know Mum is sick and what the doctors have told her, and we have answered any questions they want to know. Being kids, they mostly don't want to talk about it, and that's ok - they are kids. They're allowed to carry on in their way. My Meisha, bless her big heart, got really upset last week on the way up to Grandma's house after seeing me upset. I was driving and had tears streaming and Olive was screeching in the back seat for me to sing. As you can imagine, I wasn't really up for a sing-along at that point in time but Olive insisted. So I started in with a terrible rendition of Baa Baa Black Sheep.

"No, Mummy! Silent Night!"

So I started singing Silent Night. Which of course, instantly reminded me of being in the Christmas show at school as a child, wrapped in a white sheet with a tinsel halo, singing shyly along to Silent Night, with Mum watching on from the crowd of parents. So of course I get more upset (it's ok, I wasn't so upset I couldn't drive!). And the whole time, Meisha is sitting next to me, sneaking little looks. I tried to stop crying but the more I tried to stop, the more tears fell down my cheeks.

"Ok Mum, now Amazing Grace".

Are you kidding, kid? This is THE hymn I associate with funerals and ALWAYS makes me cry. So Olive is sitting in the back, singing along with me, thinking it's just another car-ride karaoke session and I'm in the front losing my shit.

Poor Meisha. She reached out and touched my hand with her little one and sat in the car, consoling her Mum. As we pulled up to Mum's, her wee face crumpled and she just sobbed. We sat in the car for a good few minutes just having a cry together.

I like to be strong for my kids. But sometimes? Sometimes you just have to be sad with them too.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Tonight I lay with my dear little Olive as she went to sleep. After singing some songs and having a little chat, she turned to me and said, "Mummy. You stopped crying when we went to kindy. You were very brave, good girl Mummy."

I smiled, and said, "thank you, darling."

My girl asked, "Why did you keep crying Mummy?"

I paused, pondering how to deliver the heart breaking news in kid terms. "I was crying because Grandma is sick again, babe. And one day she is going to die. That makes Mummy very very sad."

Olive's bottom lip quivered and a short, sharp sob erupted from her mouth. "I don't want Grandma to die, Mummy!"

My heart ached, and I didn't really know how to continue the conversation. I am always honest with my kids, and I think we shouldn't be afraid of death. So I tried my best to explain this, to my 3 year old daughter - "I know, baby. I don't want Grandma to die either. It's really really sad to think about but you must remember that everyone dies. When it's someone's time, it happens. One day I will die, and one day you will too."

She had tears streaming down her soft cheeks and she said, "I don't want to die Mummy".

This short exchange with my youngest child, who I thought was far too young to understand a situation such as this, has put a little crack in my heart.

Yesterday we received the devastating news that my Mum's brain tumour has grown back. The doctor has told her that without treatment, she has about 12 months left to live her life.

Do you know how fast a year passes? I do. Every year I have a list of things I want to achieve in the next 12 months and I often put them off because of mundane day-to-day crap.
I intend to catch up with people and to save money and to better my health.
I have plans in my head of places to take the kids, holidays to arrange and take with my husband.
I make mental notes to spend more time with my brothers and sisters.
I make lists of things to work towards and things to eliminate.

And more often than not, all of these notes and lists sit around and never get crossed off.

Imagine being told you have just 12 months to do all of those things you wanted to do. It's not enough time.
There's still so much Mum needs to be here for. We aren't done with her yet! She needs to be here to deliver any future grandbabies. She needs to deliver her grandbabies' babies. There's still weddings for her to attend, and parties - 21st's, 30th's, 40th's....her own 60th. We still have so much laughing to do. I still need her to help me with parenting my own babies. We still have holidays to take, and disagreements to have. We still need to take the piss out of her when she does 'old people' things. There are still a million and one hugs we need to give her. There are still so many unsaid, 'I love you's'. There are still recipes to share, lunches to be had. So many sleepovers for the grandies to have. I still want to have sleepovers! So many thank you's to tell her, for the life, love, support, encouragement and faith she has given me and my brothers and sisters.

Only once you are given some sort of timeframe, do you realise all of this. And realise that we need to make each day count. Because all of those little things - when it comes down to it - are the big things. They are what matters. It's not the things we buy, or the hours we spend at work. It's not how we look, or whether we have the latest phone. It's not the car we drive, or the house we live in. It's the moments spent with people we love.

Make each day count. Don't waste time with people who make you feel negative about yourself. Tell people you love them. Say yes to that party - the memories will be with you forever. Spend time learning things from people who can teach you. Give your babies that extra cuddle, even when they're pushing it at bedtime!

Make memories.