This time last year I was by mum’s side saying my goodbyes. Since then, instead of mourning her loss, I have been preoccupied with another threat to my world and wellbeing. While I was away from home caring for mum, cracks erupted in my previously strong and successful marriage. I desperately hoped we could fix things when I got back home, and over the last 18 months we have tried.
Nevertheless, last month my twenty-year relationship came to an end. As I try to come to terms with the breakdown of my marriage, I find I can now grieve for my mother too. I have finally started planning the interment of her ashes.
While I’m glad she’s not here to lament the loss of the man she regarded as her son and a saint, she would have been a huge source of love and support for me. She once said of Jack, that he is more like a Christian than people like her who call themselves Christians. In fact, my mother was the most genuinely good, honest and caring person I’ve ever known.
So, at the end of 2020, after two extraordinarily difficult years I now face the loss of the two most important people in my life. It’s an incredibly painful time, and it will take a while to recover. But there is a silver lining…
I have been enjoying deeper and more authentic relationships with new and old friends, and I am giving myself more time for nurturing and self-care. Over the last few weeks, I have developed and started implementing a recovery plan. I’m approaching this with the same vigour and determination that I used to support mum. I’m allowing space for sorrow, and to acknowledge the pain of losing so much goodness and certainty. And I’m learning the importance of being with painful emotions rather than fleeing from, fighting or numbing them. I’m listening to useful talks and engaging in helpful mindfulness practices. I believe all of this will make me into a better mindfulness teacher (and perhaps a better person!).
So, given how much I have lost, do I have any regrets? I wrestled with the decision to support mum to live back in her own home. She was so miserable in the care home I didn’t feel I had any choice. Though, I was clear with Jack that if I had to choose between him and mum, I would choose him. That if it put a strain on our marriage, I would come home. I am grateful he didn’t make me choose. I can honestly say that even though I have lost my best friend and confidante, who I loved and trusted more than anybody, I have no regrets about the decision I made.
And through the huge waves of grief and sadness, I can see how lucky I am. I realise not everybody gets to have such a good person for their mother. And in moments of strength, I’m grateful for the twenty years of love and companionship with Jack. I am conscious that the love I have had from both these two incredible beings, is more than most people get in a lifetime.