Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Mum dying last year happened so fast. To this day, I still don’t think I have digested it. If that’s the right word.

I eventually got off my procrastinating arse, and actually went and picked up her ashes from the crematorium. I put this off and missed at least two appointments to collect her. This is not like me. At. All. I turn up to appointments. I make sure I’m on time. And if, for some unforseen reason I can’t, I call. But twice, I put the appointment totally out of my mind. Not even realising until days later that I failed to show.

And poor Mum. Sitting there, alongside Bob or Margaret or June. Waiting for me to come and get her off the shelf. And look, I know that’s not her. I watched her die. I know she was no longer with her body. I get that, but we’ve got stuff in store for Mum. Stuff she will like.

So, on a sunny day in April, on my way to a gym class, I kept my appointment, and Maddie and I went in and picked up the plastic container with the engraved "Betty Joan Clarke" silver plate on the front, packed in what seemed like an inappropriate gift bag, and put it on the front seat and drove away.

I saw another psychic yesterday. Granted, the second one I’ve seen in 6 months, but this one, this one was different. Everything she said was 100 percent SPOT. FUCKING. ON. Like the fact:

Jack is a firecracker and will need major boundaries – Check.

Sam is very sensitive, yet can be distant and is smart in the areas he is interested in. Check.

We want to and will sell our house soon. Check.

I like to write. Check.

My mother passed on recently. Check.

All this without one ounce of pre-admission from me. You just can’t pluck this shit out of the air.

So, with that, she told me that mum was very close to me. With me, so to speak. And that Mum was frustrated. Frustrated it was all taken away from her so quickly and she wasn’t ready. This of course panicked me. I mean, the afterlife is like, forever, I don’t want her upset over there. The psychic assured me, she’s fine, she’s with her dad, my grandfather, who she missed and adored immensely. I wondered where her Mum was, who died when she was a young child, but I never asked.

But she told me, and hey, look, I am one of the worlds biggest sceptics, so please don’t think I’ve become a hippy freak over night, that whilst I held back my tears, she couldn’t move on. Not just yet.

And believe me, I’m not deliberately not grieving mum. I’m not deliberately, not losing my shit and sitting in a corner for a week, wailing. I just haven’t had the urge, or is it the time, yet.

By my very nature, I’m not an emotional person. Or a crier. I’m the strong one. I make sure everyone else is OK. And I recognise the fact that this is not always healthy for the body or mind. But it’s me and you can’t change the way you react or act, overnight.

So, this Sunday, Mothers Day, we, my family and my brothers, are going to meet in Shorncliffe, my Mum’s most loved town. This is where she was married. This is where we returned to some years ago and she pointed out her past to us and gave us a glimpse into her life before her life with us. A life before it got complicated I guess.

This is where we will take her ashes and walk to the end of the pier. And we will release them out to sea. Her best friend and sister-in-law tell me she loved the sea there. Not here so much, but there, yes .

Consequently, I reckon, this week, I may just take a little break from blogging.

Every day, we should be kind to one another, but on Sunday, the designated “mothers day”, if you’re mum is close, give her a squeeze, she’s pretty special.


Angela said...

We were exactly the same with my Granny's ashes. Took ages to collect them, felt funny about the bag they were in. Granny wanted to be scattered on a rose garden so the day we went to the cemetary to scatter her on the designated scatter area we couldn't find it and being a sunday, the office was shut. We ended up taking her to Muffin Break at Sunnybank for a cup of tea. We couldn't leave her in the car in case someone stole her so she sat in her gift bag in the middle of the table as the whole family sat around having tea and scones. It was quite nice actually. We got clearer directions to the scatter garden and went back the next weekend. It wasn't a sad experience at all. We read a few poems and all had a go at scattering her. It was lovely.
I hope your experience this weekend is lovely too.

Wanderlust said...

Oh Bern, thinking of you and sending love your way this Mothers Day. I know how hard this all is. I know what that feels like to drive to some strangers place of business and pick up the ashes of your mother in a box and hold them and marvel at how heavy they are, and set them in the car and think how odd it is to have them setting there. And then you get home and wonder where the hell do I put something like this, in a closet? On a table? A year is nothing. It's the blink of an eye.

I'll be thinking of you this weekend, and thinking of my own mother as well. xoxo

Seraphim said...

Dear Bern, I'll be thinking of you and yours this weekend. I hope it is a beautiful and special time for your family. I haven't been in your shoes but I do have some inkling of the sense of loss you feel. Loads and loads of love, Sarah xo

Lucy said...

Bern, I wish you peace in your heart this week. (We did a similar thing with my Dad. It was a turning point in the jouney of grief for me.) xx

Anonymous said...

You know we love you Bern. Happy Mothers Day to you..and your mum. xxxxx Nadia

Draft Queen said...

I didn't shed a tear when my dad died until after we'd buried him. I just didn't process any of it until it was time to leave him there. I'm not a public emotions kind of person. I couldn't cry in front of people if I wanted to.

If I had to pick up his ashes, they'd probably still be there over 2 years later. I haven't been back to the cemetery either.

Mourning is a weird thing. We all do it differently. Take your time. Work it out on your own.

Thea said...

Oh Bern, major lump in my throat.
I wish you all the best Mother's Day this one can be. xxx

In Real Life said...

Oh my goodness, that is sad! Sending my condolences. It sounds like you have a nice memorial planned, the sea-side scattering in her favourite place sounds lovely.
My mom died 15 years ago, when I was 19, and I still don't feel completely "over it". I remember when her ashes were delivered, it was the weirdest, weirdest experience.

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Ok, teary now, so apologies in advance for any typos.

Everyone deals with grief differently. You may never have the big outburst of emotion. You may deal with it by keeping busy. Writing. Doing stuff with your children. OR..the outburst of emotion might catch up with you some time. That's ok.

I think this Sunday will be very emotional for you. How you deal with that emotion is up to you. There's no text book that says you *have* to sit in a corner and cry. But all you can do, is promise yourself that you'll not intentionally keep it in. Just let the process take you where it wants to go. I'd hate to think of that sadness eating away at you inside.

But whatever works for you, hon.

I'll be thinking of you this Mother's Day. For sure. And I'll say a prayer for your Mum and for you and your family at mass.


actinglikeamama said...

I will be thinking of you this mothers day Bern. xox

Can i ask what prompted the visit to the psychic? Will you go back to her? I had a really spooky experience with one once, and to be honest, the fact she was able to talk about stuff she couldn't have known, scared me from seeing her again. weird huh?

BabyMac said...

Will be giving my Mum an extra big hug on Sunday. Thinking of you.

Carol said...

Gee, aren't we motherless daughters messing people up! But isn't it wonderful how healing these shared stories can be. Bern, I will be thinking of you, and all the motherless daughters, this Sunday.

Kylie L said...

You and Carol Duncan have between you reduced me to a teary wreck this week. Gorgeous post. Do you think that your mum couldn't move on because you hadn't scattered her ashes, or is it something else? Do you think you might start to grieve as you empty them into the sea? Forgive me if I'm being too personal, but thsi si such a personal post.

Will be thinking of you on Sunday. I was asad about being so far apart from my own mum on that day- but she is alive and well, and we'll Skype. Hugs to you my friend. xxx

Taryn Rucci said...

That was lovely Bern I have tears in my eyes! xx

Jane said...

Bern, thank you so much for reminding me how important my mum is! It's so easy to take her for granted, so thank you. I'll be thinking of you this Sunday x

Nikki said...

Gorgeous post Bern. I hope your Mothers Day brings what you need it to with respect to your mum - and also obviously those new paintings, drawings and sculptures from your own little ones who adore you for being their wonderful mum.

Nomie said...

I too will be thinking of you on Sunday.

So Now What? said...

Thanks for all the very lovely comments. Much appreciated x

emlykd said...

Oh Bern, I only just saw this.. cos I have been stuck in my world.. Thanx for inviting me into yours for awhile.. and may I just remind you.. what an awesome mum I think YOU are! From what little I know of you, I can just *tell* you are a marvellous mother..

Anj (@anjwrites) said...

Beautiful, bittersweet post...and tears are in my eyes.

cate said...

Where's the *like* button? #thatisall

Bronnie Marquardt said...

What a beautiful post ... and a beautiful thing to do for your Mum for Mother's Day. I hope it gives you some peace. x

Smudgeblurr said...

Hey Bern,
Firstly, beautiful post! I have been trying to read this since i read the first paragraph and had to hide it as I was at uni and din't want to have the big cry I knew I would. Have just managed to get back to it and yes it brought tears to my eyes - and cheeks! Hope you had a beautiful day and all went well. -
Thinking of you

danielle said...

i completely understand how you feel. the drive home with my husbands ashes besides me was surreal. even now. 2 years later. its not 'digested' properly. and its ok. all my love...
great blog btw xxx