Dear Mum, Two years but never forgotten…
Today is the day I found my mother had slipped away, two years and still as painful as ever. For the first time I thought I’d share with my eulogy I read at her funeral.
Firstly, on behalf of my sister and I, we would like to thank you all for coming. I know mom would be surprised that so many of you have come.
Today I stand here, representing a family in shock. Shock that our mother could die at just 52 years of age, shock that none of us could save her, but most of all, disappointment that she could not save herself.
At my moms insistence I have glossed over her pain and despair, mostly attributed to her alcohol abuse. I can now tell you, for the first time with honestly, that the last 4 years have been extremely difficult for me and my sister, our mom had sunk deeper and deeper into her depression, and there really was no light at the end of the tunnel.
Today marks the closure of a difficult life, not just for our mother, but for those of us left who have had to stand by and watch the heart breaking deterioration of a sometimes, happy but always loving and caring person. Someone we all, at sometime or another, loved and cherished dearly.
Despite years of trying, Mom would rarely ask or seek help for her manic depression, a serious mental illness that plagued her life for as long as I can remember, for which her excessive drinking was merely a symptom.
In the past 24 for months for example she had broken both of her arms and as recently as January spent 2 weeks in hospital recovering from a broken leg after yet another fall at home.
Despite this chaotic life, we were closer than ever. After years of hiding her illness for the first she was starting to open up and talk.
I am all choked up inside that I have lost my mother, to me, she had so many wonderful and lovely qualities, what a waste, I feel robbed.
Despite her turmoil, she remained a fantastic person, troubled and complex. A tormented and tortured soul she gave and gave and never asked for anything in return.
Our mom didn’t have much luck, some of it her own doing. In her last years she felt alone, but she couldn’t see the love that was right in front of her. And I can tell you she was not alone.
She was baffled and confused by life, family and the heart ache and trouble they bought. But above all she kept her wicked since of humour throughout, this was no more apparent than the time we spent in the hospital in January. We would laugh at the nurses giving her nicotine patches to help her quit, as there was no way she could get outside to smoke, although she’d lit up in the ambulance before we had got back home.
Everyone who met mom at the hospital loved her, it’s quite sad really, that someone who would have had you believe, was so shy and timid, could make friends and interact with people so easily. But the difference being there was no drink to hide behind in hospital, she had to find to confidence without it.
Although our lives together were followed with sadness and pain, they have been many good times we have spent together; a personal favourite has to be the Tina Turner concert in Manchester, exactly a 1 year ago today. We had the best time. She was so excited.
Mum would write the most beautiful cards and the last thing she ever wrote to me was a Christmas card and in it she said “you are my north, my south, my east and my west. My working week, my Sunday rest, and I could never do without you”
She continued “and here’s to 2010, a new decade and fresh start, may it be filled with all you want and wish for”. Well I know what I want, and what I wish for mum but I’m not going to get it am I?
She finished with “big hugs and kisses from me to you, with love your big fat mommy” (she always thought she was fat, this was just one of her many insecurities)
The final weeks were promising, as she recovered, unable to get out of her home, she was, for the first time in a long time totally alcohol free. For those few short week, although tarnished with pain. We had our mom back. I only wish the rest of you could have seen her.
It wasn’t long before her black cloud, as she would call it came back to haunt her.
As soon as she could, she was drinking again; I should have seen it coming. But maybe I would have just delayed the inevitable.
The last time I saw her was just before she died, she had been drinking heavily for days. I cleaned her up as best I could, but I knew she did not want me there.
She was embarrassed and ashamed. She was a very proud woman. The last thing she said to me was that she was sorry. Maybe sorry for all the pain she has caused or maybe sorry that I had found in that state again. I don’t no.
Well that was it, just sorry, if only I had known what was coming. I would never have left her side, but I will have to live with that wont I? It’s a sad tail isn’t it?
I found her just days later, she looked peaceful, like a child, curled up on the floor in the kitchen. I knew from that moment on she wouldn’t feel any more pain, sadness or sorrow again.
As short a relationship as it was, I only new her for 25 years. I will forever treasure the times we had. Above all I feel so very proud to have been able to call you my mummy. And I would never have changed you for the world. Sleep well my angel. Please I beg watch over me… xxx