I remember thinking I was coping really well. I had grieving nailed. Unfortunately, grief doesn’t disappear if you ignore it. It just hides inside you until you’re fragile. Then it cracks you open.
I couldn’t deal with this news, so basically I ignored it. The nine months that followed were a blur. I kept myself busy. I remember thinking I was coping really well. I had grieving nailed. Unfortunately, grief doesn’t disappear if you ignore it. It just hides inside you until you’re fragile. Then it cracks you open. That moment for me was the day I gave birth to Margaux and those newborn months that followed.
I can’t remember much, I don’t think anyone really does. The one thing I do remember was what I like to call my ‘Bambi Moment’. You know the scene after Bambi’s mum has been shot and he’s desperately searching for her, calling her name. Well I had one of those. I was on the way to the post office. I’d slept about five hours in the past five days. I had a cracked nipple and chronic back pain. I had anxiety about the fact that I really wasn’t enjoying being a new mum. And I also had anxiety about the fact that I had anxiety. It was hot, like middle of summer feels like I’m inside an armpit kind of hot. I was short of breath. Panicked almost. I felt so heavy with sadness I thought I was going to collapse. But at the same time weightless, like I someone had cut my tether and I was floating aimlessly. I stood in the Post Office queue, tear-stained and covered in milk sweat. In my head I was calling out for my mum, desperate for her, desperate to ask her how the f!ck she got through this newborn stage. Searching for reassurance from her that I would be OK. That I was a good mother. That was the moment I realized it was time to deal with grief.
I stood in the Post Office queue, tear-stained and covered in milk sweat. In my head I was calling out for my mum, desperate for her, desperate to ask her how the f!ck she got through this newborn stage. Searching for reassurance from her that I would be OK.
Apart from missing Lynn deeply, I was petrified I would forget her. Forget the little things about her, forget her perspective, forget the way she did things, the way she lived her life. So in an effort to pull memories from my foggy mind I started writing. I wrote letters to her, I wrote poems, I wrote imaginary magazine articles documenting the special way she made coffee, or planned dinner parties or celebrated birthdays, I wrote a children’s book, creating a character based on her, something I could read to Margaux. Every time I wrote, it felt like a therapy session. Memories became clear, like high definition movies. Most of the time it was uncomfortable. But not as uncomfortable as carrying around the weight of unexpressed grief.
Margaux will be one soon. I’ll have been a mother for 364 days. And I’ll have made it through more than 574 days without my own mother. I still grieve. I still wonder if I’m doing a good job. Sometimes I still lie awake with my worried mind. I can however confirm the following clichés: It gets easier. Time heals all wounds. And if I could have just one more moment with Lynn there are three things I would say to her:
I’m so proud of you and proud to be your daughter.
Why didn’t you warn me how hard motherhood is!!!
What’s your recipe for date squares? I have a major craving.
Liz Kreuger wrote and self-published a children’s book as a result of these experiences. It’s called ‘The Very Energetic Grandmother’ you can check it out here www.theveryenergeticgrandmother.com