SOCIAL MEDIA

LIFE UPDATE


Today is R U OK? day and I am not ok.

A few weeks ago my mum died. 

God, I can't believe I'm typing that. 

She was 51 years old. Was. Past tense. Sh*t.

Mum died of a pulmonary embolism, which is basically a blood clot that travels to your lungs. It was over quickly. She didn't know she was dying. No one did. No one could have.

Mum, Michelle, Nana Shell. Pictured at 14 years old.

I hadn't been in contact with my mum for almost 11 years. It was due to all the usual depressing reasons that family relationships fall apart: divorce, remarriage, changed dynamics, miscommunication, pride, being human, being a teenager.

It was an unspoken thought that one day I wanted to reconcile with Mum, but it was Future Jane's problem. Maybe when Future Jane was pregnant. Maybe when Future Jane was successful. Maybe when Future Jane was thin and attractive. Maybe when Future Jane wasn't petrified by thought of being rejected.

But now she's gone. She died and I never told her that I loved her, that I desperately wanted her in my life, that I craved her hugs, that every time I was sick I imagined her sitting on the side of my bed, putting her hand on my forehead, and tut-tut-tutting at my temperature. Mum things, you know? 



I've been visiting my step-dad and through him I feel like I'm getting to know Mum again. Like, sunflowers were her favourite flower. She was obsessed with Doctor Who. She hoarded Panadol, Gaviscon and Throaties. She thought it would be hilarious to buy her 4-year-old grandchild 100 lollipops (she was right). She kept clippings of every single article I'd written. Even my very first published article, a column in Cosmo 6 years ago. Even the Westfield Food Guide that came out a few months ago. 

She loved me. She did. I didn't know it, but she did. And that's been the hardest thing. I thought she didn't - some reasons were genuine, other reasons were 11 years worth of festering teen angst. I convinced myself that if I was cooler, thinner, funnier, smarter, more successful, then maybe I'd be desirable again as a daughter. But she loved me all along, and she died without telling me, and she died without me telling her.

God, humans are the worst.

Grief, for me, has been a roller coaster. I'm crushed, I'm angry, I'm devastated, I can't breathe. My little brother, Mum's little sister, Mum's husband, Mum's step-kids, Mum's step-grandkids, we've all been robbed. And I ache for them and I ache for me. The if-onlys and what-ifs and what-could-have-beens; I get lost in them. Sometimes the thought creeps into my mind that because we were estranged I have no right to grieve her. And sometimes I take that thought and kick it in the shins.

A few days after Mum passed I sat in my living room with some of the people who love me most, and ate lemon meringue pie and talked and cried and laughed and ate more lemon meringue pie, and it hit me that Mum is gone, she's really gone.  

So today on R U OK? day, nope, I'm not ok ... but I know that I will be.

"Hold your loved-ones close and hold them tight, because we don't know how long we have with them." - Gary Bentley, my step-dad.