Posted by: Joan Spiller | July 17, 2010

It seems I can’t “delete” my Mum

I was meandering about the supermarket last night after work, trying to find something to take my mind of this dose of man-flu I seem to have picked up somewhere (which is why I was in the wine dept! How does the saying go? “Feed a fever, drown a cold”?) anyway as I approached the check outs I had the biggest fright ever  .. I saw my Mother!

No, I have not forgotten she’s dead.. No need to call the men in white coats! This woman just happened to be wearing an identical blouse that is still hanging in Mum’s closet.. Same colour and all. She was of similar build, height and age. Even had the same hair style. If I thought I coulda gotten away with it, I’d have snuck up and taken a pic of this lady – she was the mirror image of my Mum.

Now I know I’m all dribbly and pathetic because I have this man-flu but it is fair to say seeing this woman shook me completely..

I suppose one day I will have to process the fact that she’s died.. does that just happen naturally? Or does one have to force it to start? In the days immediately following her death I was “lucky”, I was busy organising undertakers, services, flowers, clothes – all the things that I now know one can do on auto pilot. I was there for Dad, said all the right things to the myriad people who end up playing a part in someone dying. Seems everyone wants a piece of you when your Mum dies.

Then the emotions sort of get pushed aside / shelved, as life starts to force its way back into your hazy world, post funeral. I remember going back to work a week after she died and wishing everyone would stop asking how I was. I had NO idea how I really was – and what I was feeling was probably best not voiced .. They were strange days indeed.

In the early days immediately after her death, Dad went into “clean up” mode. I was a bit nervous that it was too much / too soon, so took everything he was disposing of and have it at home. I now have some 20 potted plants that were hers. All her make up and toiletries. Her jewellery, and assorted trinkets that she had all over their house .. a whole bunch of tangible “Mum” reminders that Dad needed to remove from the house. Understandably.

So going back to the process of dealing with the death of a close family member – how the hell do we do it?

Maybe I have to delete her address from my email and delete her cell phone # from my contacts – then it starts? I know I had to tell Dad only a few days after her death to change their answering machine message from “Hi you’ve reached the VM of Barbara and Perry” to the somewhat sadder “Leave a msg for Perry after the tone”. Do you suppose all that sort of activity helps speed up “the process”?

And what is the process anyway?

It feels somehow BAD to move on.. It feels .. painful. Disloyal even.
It feels .. mm it just feels. I wonder if that could be a complete sentence 😉

I admit, every time I scroll thru’ the “B” section (Barbara) or the “M” section of my blackberry contacts list to find an address – hers is the first name that pops up. I can’t quite bring myself to delete her. Silly huh..

Well heck, the universe has already deleted her ..

If it’s all the same to you: I think I’ll hang on a tad longer 😉



  1. i am crying now jsut reading this again….


    • ROTFL@ blue monsters, I can’t help it – I had to choose between monsters or people icon thingies and most of the people I know are monsters 😉

      Now stop reading my blog and blubbering, you might break BBO!!!!


  2. joan darling.

    it doesnt ever go away, but it does ease – becomes a sort of dull ache you can manage to live with – and doesnt mean it doesnt sneak up and whack you over the head 34 yrs later and there you are crying like a baby again. BUT how terrible if we did not feel like that about someone we loved, someone who is so part of us. i try to “live” with the sadness by acknowledging and honouring it. yes some days it has to be a bit of conscious processing to deal with the pain, but by knowing that the pain and the ache and the tears are a kind of tribute to the lost parent helps you to feel okay about it.

    what is not okay is to stop living too….so you need to tuck that ache in the bottom drawer to take out whenever you feel like it and have a little reminisce and a little sob, and mostly use what is in the top drawers and always be adding new memories to the treasure chest of life. and there are such a lot of good ones now and to come. hopefully i get to share in some of them 🙂

    love J


    • and it is still new….give yourself a break!! have you heard the expression “time heals”? well in this case, eventually time builds a bandaid….this aint something that is ever gonna be “healed”. besides you arent sick and dont need healing – you are jsut being a loving and loved daughter – it comes with the territory.

      and arent we lucky to have had that – those lost parents have made us who we are. WE are a tribute to them and our sadness is a way of honouring it. wallow in it if you want, long as you remember after the wallow you have to get out of that mud puddle, have a shower to clean off, put on the clothes of “i am coping” respectability, put your chin up and carry on for a while, until the next wallow :)no shame in a good blubber now and then

      except maybe if you are blubbering over some soppy ad on tv, with your kids laughing at you….



      • how come i get that little blue bug at the top of my posts? i hope you didnt choose it specially for me!

        altho blue is my favorite colour, and i am kinda that shape….



      • I wonder at the ‘time heals’ thing, heard 2 women on the train today going on about how one of their Dad’s used to do “blah blah blah” and I thought “wonder when one stops thinking ‘oh yeah – my Mum is dead’…….” they didn’t seem too concerned about having dead parents, but seriously they would have been in their 70’s lol ..

        Anyway, next time I am playing on BBO and start crying I will get you and GM, CW etc to slap me k!!


    • Like the boys crushing the universe at bridge??
      darn tooting!! 😉

      Scuse me while I make a note in my diary for 34yrs from now – to make sure I have tissues on me….


      • lol at time heals – like i said it doesnt really, just sort of papers it over so you can get on with your life. and i think you never really get past the “oh yeah – my mum/dad is dead” thing, you jsut sort of get used to it so it is not so raw any more….dont you think it is nice that two women in their 70’s WERE talking about their dads? i have a jewish friend who’s elderly mum died recently. in talkin gabout funerals and sitting shiva etc, i asked whether jews believed in heaven, and he said some do, but many beleive that heaven is in ourselves and that when people die that the memory of them in us is their heaven – that we do carry them around inside ourselves. i like that idea – my mum may be married to a presbo minister but i am not at all religious. i like the idea that heaven for me might be in my chidrens memories of me.



      • Like that “papers over it”!

        The old biddies (lol) having fond memories of their parents is indeed neat. I admit, I do find myself wondering what my daughter will “think” when I am dead..

        (She better think it stinks I’m gone, or I’ll come back and haunt her lil toosh!!)

        Like you, I am not religiously inclined but do hope that my time in CJ’s life has meaning.. to all the ones that matter, really.

        Which leads to the Q I often ask myself but never answer – “what is the point?” Of life.. Not in that “I hate life” (and want to die) kinda way just in that “wonder why we’re alive” / musing kinda way 😉


  3. I’ve seen her in Manukau Mall, the last place we were together. I think of her words of wisdom when I really wish I could talk to her.She will not leave you just as dad has not left me.They are and always will be a part of the person you are. Don’t try to ease the greif, it will ease in time,don’t be scared you might forget her cause you never will. I promise you. The universe may have erased her but those who loved her are still here and while we are here they both live on. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone


    • Mm James, interesting how you and Tanya (she’s my cousin and was very close to Mum) both say the same thing: A) I’m normal (cool!) and B) This is normal. I admit, I try not to think about Mum a lot. Makes it easier, else I start crying and at times that can be a tad tedious .. but every now and then (like with the motorcycles for you James) something happens that ya CANNOT stop and wham, you’re there: “thinking” .. Bah humbug! Speaking of such things, I have decided this year we shall be ignoring Xmas again lol .. so much easier all round and I just can’t be bothered with trying to be cheerful when at times like that, I really DO notice the loss. Esp as it was Mum’s “thing” to go all mental over the whole Xmas thing!!


  4. Your 100% human Joan. You can do away with her email address, phone number, cloths, etc., but you will never delete her. Get use to it! While it will never go away, you will adopt and handle it better as time goes by. I could tell you hundreds of things that give me flashback, but one just went by the house. Both my sons had Harley Davidson motorcycles which have a distinctive sound. Every time I hear or see one I think of them. And on and on. God is good though. Love you gal.


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