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Biggest loss since Mum died? Not being her ‘kid’ any more

It’s been nearly 4 months since she left, & I’d say I’m grieving ‘well’. We’ve all heard the saying that everyone grieves in their own way, and of course it’s true; Dad’s sudden death 13 years ago knocked me flat, thumped me with depression, and took about 5 years to recover from (such a “Daddy’s girl”).

Her 70th, in France

But Mum? Not so much. It was a relief mainly, and expected, after a long slow decline. Plus we weren’t nearly as close as Dad and I.

I’m aware I’m in a process of letting go, as I adjust to being an orphan. I’m well-supported by family and friends, and I’m so grateful Mum is free of suffering now.

Yet the other day, it struck me that I was missing an essential dynamic: I am no longer a daughter.

It’s a role I’ve known my whole life, and played dutifully, even when I was being the ‘difficult’ one, which I admit I feel I got typecast into for many years.

There was the ‘jealous’ one when my new brother was born; the ‘spoilt’ one by Grandma and Grandpa; the ‘cuddly’ one sometimes, or the funny one when I was exploring my dramatic abilities.

I could be kind, clever, mean or selfish too it seemed…

Yet always her daughter.

Me & Christie, both aged 15 or so

She got me my first job in the local newsagency, so I could pay for my fat pony’s winter hay. She helped find local families I could babysit for, and cleaned the ballet studio for free so that I could take lessons.

As I got older, she taught me to drive, stayed up half the night worrying about what time I was coming home, and was incredibly sad when I moved out of home at 18, then emigrated solo to Australia at 20.

I’ve travelled the country, and half the world- bought and sold houses- loved and lost several times- had a child, and raised him to be a wonderful 21yr old who recently moved back home- throughout it all, I was a ‘daughter’.

No longer.

I now have no one else so devoted to me, or to care for in return as one can only care for your mother.

No one else to feel such desire for connection from.

No one else irritated me so much for so long during my terrible teens; no one else tended to my illnesses, or championed me at Pony Club quite so fiercely (even though it was deeply embarrassing at the time).

I was always her only daughter, and now I’m not.

Wellbeing over 50 often involves caring for elderly parents
Catching the bus to the Mall July 2017 (the hats were unplanned) #motheranddaughter #ageing #dementia #over50

I didn’t expect to miss the role as much as I am. In the last decade, as her dementia increased, I felt more like a parent, even though I lived so far from her there in England.

My wise son even got it, when he last saw her in 2015:

‘She wants you to look after her doesn’t she? It’s like it’s your turn now.’

So the part of “daughter” has long been drifting away from me, like a fine net cut loose in the ocean, strand by strand.

It feels like my last official act in that position was to organise her a wonderful send off, which I did to the best of my abilities.

And now I carry on, living my amazingly ordinary life as an artist, a mother, a cousin, lover, best friend, teacher, blogger, colleague…

But sadly no more a daughter.

In gratitude for red hats, being Mum’s Princess, and learning to let go, G xO

26 Comments

  1. Beautiful Gg. I’d never thought about that position in our life being removed by our last parent’s death. But I guess it is. Nice to hear your thoughts once again. Love S

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that’s why people love lineages, because there in the family tree the black lines will always connect mother to daughter, and that deep imprint of being her daughter will never truly fade. Even orphaned, it’s part of who you are.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m so sorry! I think what you are feeling is common for people who have lost both parents. Whether we’re close to them or not, the relationship we have with our parents is unique and profound, and it’s hard to know that you’re not the “oldest” generation in your immediate family. I think when we lose a parent we not only lose the old person we saw gradually slip away, but we also lose the person who knew us our whole lives, and that’s so very hard. Hugs to you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Perhaps there will always be a part of you that will remain her daughter. After all, just because she’s moved on, it doesn’t mean that the blood-bond between the two magically ends, that you cease to have emerged from her womb.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Donnalee, you’re very kind.

      And yes, it’s hard to keep up with all the blogs sometimes isn’t it? I appreciate you popping by, G

      Like

  5. I also lost my dad.during covid lockdown .He succumbed to Parkinson’s at 85 but since i couldnt visit there is no closure .A sadness remains though life goes on .No tears no words

    Liked by 1 person

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