On Monday 3 June, in the early hours of the morning, my mother passed away after a two-year battle with oesophageal cancer.
It’s difficult to express what it feels like to have lost a mother. I grew up in a single parent family, and to have lost that parent in my life is like losing both the sky above my head and also the ground below my feet.
The past few months have been extremely difficult. Just as you begin to catch your breath, another hurdle rises to be faced. Some of these hurdles come from the illness itself – the helplessness of seeing a loved one in constant and often intolerable pain; the uncertainty of how and when the inevitable end will come; the frustration of watching a fiercely strong woman deterioriate and to lose all of her strength. Other challenges are more pragmatic – the struggle of family finances; the need to look after a younger sister; and all of the things that must be given up in order to make living work.
I’ve been struggling for quite some time to come to terms with all these different experiences. There are some types of mental and physical exhaustion that just hits you like a shock wave. Nothing really prepares you for it. But life requires us to push on, and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Organising the funeral service was extremely difficult – and by far the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do – but necessity called for it to be done. I am so glad to have been able to give her a farewell that she deserved.
It’s difficult to look on the bright side when the wounds are still so raw. I suppose I can take comfort in appreciating the fact that life will (and does) go on. And, as a 22-year-old with dreams and aspirations, to also know that there are no things that cannot be overcome.
Adversity… is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.