Empty Space

Image courtesy of Helga Weber www.flickr.com/photos/helga/
Image courtesy of Helga Weber

There is so much to do, to catch up on, and so little motivation. I’ve had to resort to my daily to-do lists in my diary to try to encourage myself to at least tick one box off a day. I refuse to give in to inactivity.

On the day I brought Mum home from hospital, the day she found out that she had terminal cancer, she went straight out to the clothes line to hang out some clothes to air. I told her that I could do that and she said, “No, I need to do. Doing is very helpful.”

It’s these words that help me to do when all I want to do is curl up under my doona and let the world pass me by.

I went back to work yesterday and it was good to be busy, even though every new interaction with a work colleague involved a moment to talk about Mum. When I came home I had nothing. My poor boys had to fend for themselves as hubby was working night shift. I pulled together a chicken soup and, after eating with them, all I could do was lie on the couch with three wheat bags on me and pretend to watch Poirot with my eyes shut.

My boys survived, like they always do, and washed dishes, cleaned up and put themselves to bed.

But there is a huge empty space in my life now. It lives in my heart, my head, on my phone and at the end of the street. I want to walk down and talk to Mum. When Mr 11 broke both of his arms four days after she died, I wanted to ring her from Emergency – that was our normal thing to do (yes there is a normal called going to Emergency when you have three boys). So instead I sent a message to all of my siblings – I need them more than ever now. When I met my new boss I wanted to debrief with Mum about his educational philosophies. In the quiet of every night I want to call her and chat. In my quiet morning I want to have a coffee with her. I want to forward articles of interest to her. When I collect her mail, I have to remind myself that she hasn’t just gone on another overseas trip. I can no longer go into the house by myself.

It’s the empty space that is the hardest.

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