Grief is such a peculiar creature. She doesn't behave at all how you'd expect her to. Like today, just over four years since my mum died and boom, I had to run to the ladies and have a cry because a dear and wonderful friend text me to say she's going to run a coffee morning to raise money for Macmillan nurses and would like to do so in memory of my mum.
Such a nice, thoughtful thing to do, so why the tears?
Reading the word 'Macmillan' in relation to mum my memory jumps, split-second, to attention.
Flash one: the image of the first Macmillan nurse who came to visit us, a kindly blonde haired lady who misunderstood the extent of mum's illness and thus wove a beautiful tale of a future we wanted to believe in, with my mum, sister and I taking trips to the coast, where we wheeled her up and down the promenade, poorly, yes, but happy to be out and together. We wanted that reality so much.
Flash two: an image now of the second Macmillan nurse, a blonde haired, tanned gentleman, who quickly sized up the situation we were existing within, foresaw that we could no longer continue in her little devon terrace without the necessary equipment (a hospital bed, a wheel chair and walking frame) and knew he couldn't get us those things as quickly as he could get mum a place at the hospice. "It's just for a few nights Mrs Megson," he said, and we were reassured, grateful. "Just till we get all the furniture in here and have it all nice for you."
With breakneck speed the cancer ate her all up, faster than the oncologist predicted, faster than Macmillan could've known, faster than the hospice expected. Less than a week later she inhaled for one final time.
And my grief reminds me, in flash backs more often than not, that quietly, in the background of existence, I am still waiting for the exhale, for the moment where we can pick up from where we left off. I've so much to show her, so much to share.
Because you see that's the oddest thing, the thing that makes grief the most peculiar creature: there has almost certainly never been a time in my life when I have been happier, more contented, more delighted and more grateful for the world I find myself living in and yet.....And yet happiness is no foil for grief. She stalks the sunny days as much as the dark nights; laughter and high jinx are no protection from the sharp claws with which she'll knead you.
And cat like, this pain is one borne out of love, a kittenish throwback of shocking flashbacks and a deep deep harrowing knowledge that life is finite and once gone won't ever come back.