Before my mother died, we spent two weeks together. She was ill and needed care. She wanted my dad to travel and so she booked him a long trip. I took two weeks off work and stayed with her. My siblings and I took turns caring for her.
Mum and I watched a lot of movies during those two weeks. We watched everything we could find on Netflix that she was interested in. Mum was just as fussy about her movies as she was her pizza.
We stayed up until three am watching movies and then we’d talk until four am about the movies. Mum was a night owl like me. It’s funny the things that we miss. She’s been on my mind a lot lately.
I was asked to provide a quote on why writing about bereavement is a good thing. Why does writing about our experiences with grief help us.
During my visit with mum, she had surprised me one night when she said she wanted to be a writer.
“I always wanted to write a book, but it’s too late now,” she said to me.
“Why is it too late?” I asked her.
“It just is. But why do you think I record everything down? It’s a record of my life.”
Her words still haunt me today. I wish, that I had been in a better place to help her write her story.
My mum was a great writer. She was always submitting articles to the local newspaper and was even published a few times. She worked as a volunteer for many years and created monthly newsletters. In fact, my first office job was helping mum photocopy and collate the newsletters in the kitchen. It’s no wonder my organization skills are as good as they are now.
I wish I had spent more time with her towards the end. Even though we were close, she spent most of her time sleeping in the last year of her life. Her calls became more sporadic. She struggled to breathe. Sometimes speaking on the phone was just too much for her.
My mother was a force of nature you did not want to reckon with. She was stubborn and proud. She could have been anything she wanted to be. She would have made a fantastic writer.
I wish I had been brave enough to share my writings with her. I wish I was brave enough to use my real name for this blog. There are many things I wish I could do. But I’m not there just yet.
I can say brave things. Just not with my real name. Not yet. Maybe one day.
Writing for me has always been therapeutic. It’s been my way of coping since I was a teenager and I kept daily journals. My mum bought me my first diary when I was thirteen and I poured my heart into it every night. I lost those journals in a flood about ten years ago.
In relationships, I would write long emails to my partner when I couldn’t sleep. If I wasn’t brave enough to say the things I wanted to say in person. I would write them out in emails. But I learned over time – not to send words of anger. Because those you can’t take back.
I wasn’t going to write tonight. When I got home from my doctor’s appointment and shopping, I felt a migraine come on. I grabbed a salad for dinner and went to bed. I only woke up an hour ago. Now my night is shot.
Seeing the email about grief and bereavement made me think of mum. Not that she is ever far from my mind. I was asked to provide some advice to writers out there. And this is what I said.
Write your heart out. Write every day. Write down everything you’re feeling and everything you’re experiencing. You don’t have to share it with anyone if you aren’t comfortable with it. Or you can share it with as many people as you want to. And you have every right to use a pen name. It’s not uncommon for writers to adopt a pen name.
Don’t ever be ashamed to put your feelings in writing. Keep a journal. Keep a blog. Record vlogs. Use whatever technology you feel comfortable using. And most importantly? Don’t let anyone ever tell you NO. Do this for you and you only.When I was doing research about how to start a blog and what to write about, one piece of advice stuck with me.Write what you know.Well, it turns out that I know grief well. And so, Mostly Single was born.
Be brave. Say brave things. Don’t ever be afraid to be who you truly are meant to be. Write what you feel. Speak from the heart.
Mum, I miss you. I wish that we had finished your story. But at least, I can write about you. I love you.