1. You remember everything they ever taught you, EVERY LAST WORD!
Most people want their parents to stay out of their adult life and sometimes wreck less decision making but for the one who has neither a parent telling them that's not the right dress or he is not the right guy for those of us who have lost a parent we would love to have someone interfere in our premature decision making, it would simply be the best. It's in those times you remember the tone of their voice and which name they called you dependent on whether you were in trouble or not and the life lessons that make so much more sense now.
2. Mothers Day HELL
People still randomly ask, "What are you doing for Mothers day”? As though you were lying all along and she is somehow around on that day. What they don't know is that you try your best to avoid that date, missing church, because you don't want to be left in a ball of tears, turning over the TV because of the many adverts that remind you, of what you do not have. On this day try and remember the good times and the stories they would tell.
3. Some people will never understand that kind of loss, nor would you ever want them too!
I've heard countless pathetic explanations of "how to get over it", when in truth you simply learn to live with it. People try their best but if you have ever tried to call their phone number and they don't answer or you randomly get asked for your mothers maiden name as a security question on a telephone call which reminds you of them once again; this can literally change the mood of your whole day. You wish people wouldn't try to understand but just to be there and listen.
4. You never see life through naive eyes ever again
I remember for the first year counting every breath I could, checking my pulse and all sorts. Sounds strange, but when you realise just how quickly one goes from life to death you take nothing for granted again. You realise nothing is for keeps. You tend not to over plan; you live life in the moment and store as many memories as humanly possible.
5. People matter over things you would rather an experience or a moment with someone over a thing. Simply because you learn that relationships and people are the one thing that mean so much. You don't tend to discard people in the way others do because of the value you now place on people.
6. Birthdays are 100% important in fact any time you get to celebrate someone, it really matters, because whenever it's their birthday you know exactly how you would have planned to take them out, spoil them, buy them a car. But on that day in particular for us who are left behind it becomes a reminder that we won't get to spend our hard earned money on them in that way again. We have a tradition as siblings where we go out and do something fun or for a meal. We don't ever want to forget how amazing mum was and still is in our hearts.
7. You will love again I never thought I could love again when I lost my mother, it sounds strange looking back now, but my heart felt as if it was physically broken into very small pieces, as though I'd had an emotional heart attack. I didn't think I could trust anyone with my heart, even on a friendship level just in case they left me too. As time goes by the love of friends, family, church, relationships, restores your faith and allows you to slowly build up your heart and that trust again. This is ok and a very normal part of grief.
8. Memories Box You cannot keep everything! I remember when we had to clear out mums house and give all her stuff away, that was tough and it happened very soon after the funeral (we had no choice) due to having to sell the house. I remember finding old photographs and a gorgeous 1960's or 1970's green dress that belonged to her, I said that's mine and it is still in my wardrobe to this day. I have a box on top of my wardrobe filled with keepsakes and things that remind me of her I often open it and look at the memories sometimes tears flow and sometimes it's just thankful that I am no longer where I use do be on the grief journey.
9. No one can ever replace them! Your friends, family, a new job, Husband, children can ever replace who they were to you. They may ease the pain but no one can replace that beautiful person.
10. You constantly live your life asking would they be proud?
I remember graduating from university, my first album launch, being nominated for a MOBO award, buying my first house, all these huge moments and always thinking would they be proud. She never got to see me achieve so much, and I always have in the back of my mind would she approve and would this make her proud. My mum was the best kind who provided TOUGH LOVE. It's been 16 long years of tests and trials but it has also helped to shape me into the woman I am today, fearless, courageous, sensitive, people centered and every day I am compelled to do the things she didn’t get chance to. Yes it makes life tougher and yes there are days where the tears are more like floods but in the end I remember I am still her child and I got to spend 20 beautiful years with her.