Tag Archives: grief

If Mother’s Day makes you miserable…

Mother’s Day for me is as much as a downer as Valentines Day , and that is saying something.



I don’t have a mum. She died almost 19 years ago. Before I was really a grown up , before I was a mum myself . I haven’t had a mum for a long time and I’m no longer grief stricken in that all encompassing , consuming way that fresh bereavement brings with it. I don’t have parents , that’s been part of my life for a very long time. I don’t weep everytime I think of it or flinch from talking about them.



Mother’s Day though that always feel like a bit of a stomach punch for me . It hits hard and it hurts and it lingers . I think it’s because it is everywhere. I have had emails everyday for about 3 weeks telling me to treat mum , buy her something special. TV ads are there too telling me to spoil my mum , get her a cute personalised card , take her out for dinner. Well you know what advertisers ? I’d love to. I’d be delighted to be able to take my mam out for dinner somewhere fancy , I never ever got to do that you see. I’d only just finished my A levels when my mum died . I wish with all my might that tomorrow we could do a lovely Sunday lunch , my mam and my children , my sister and hers . I wish we could have one of those days the advertisers are shoving down our throats. I wish I could spoil her – only present I can remember getting her was a pack of dusters when I was about 7 because she’d been saying she needed new ones ( I’d like to think that my gift giving skills have improved since then)



Mother’s Day without a mum sucks , I’ve seen a few other people mention they feel the same over the past week or so on social media . I suppose it’s just because we are bombarded with what we are missing . Highlights the hole in your life.




It’s not just the lack of a mum that gives me the Mothers Day angst.



I’m a single mum too , again I have been for a long while . There is no other adult here to give me a well done or make me feel special and that’s a bit of a niggle too. The kids will ( I hope ) have made cards and small girl’s daddy will have gotten a gift for them to give me and we’ll have a lovely tea and possibly a Mothers Day disco if we’re feeling that way inclined . It just all leaves me really flat and exhausted. A total fake of a day. That in itself makes me feel guilty , surely Mother’s Day should be spent dwelling on how bloody lucky I am to have these 4 amazing nutcases in my life. Instead I’ll be feigning happiness and joy that simply is stripped away from me on Mothers Day. I know that feeling this way stems from the toxic relationship I was in when I was first a mum and for the years after. Some of you may unfortunately know that big days and events that aren’t focussed on the perpetrator in those kind of relationships can be horrific. Kids birthdays , Christmasses well they were volatile enough but Mother’s Day ???Whole other level. You may be showered with expensive gifts in front of people to have them smashed to bits when you’re alone or you could be told that you’re too much of a shit mum to get a card on Mother’s Day . You don’t deserve it .

I think this is one of my few remaining hang ups left over from those times . Maybe I’d have conquered it with setting our own traditions and taking back Mothers Day like I have so much other stuff but the thing with it is I already feel like the wind has been taken out of my sails with not having a mum and I don’t really have the energy to fight THIS added problem that kills Mother’s Day stone dead for me .



I didn’t intend to make all this about me honestly. As I say often my blog is therapeutic and getting thoughts out of my head into words on a page really helps me understand myself and my thinking better. I don’t resent other people having the worlds best day I feel obliged to say . I love seeing the happy pics on social media of mums with their feet up , having breakfast in bed . I love to see amazing mums thanked and celebrated , they bloody deserve it ! Tell me stories of your mums and how they are absolute rocks ! I don’t scroll through social media cursing those celebrating the day I promise ( possibly DO do that on Valentine’s Day)





There are many of us though, for whom Mother’s Day is painful .

There are a multitude of reasons why .

It could be that you’re not a mum when that’s all you want in the world , that must be almost unbearably hard.

Maybe you’ve lost a child , that would be a traumatic thing to deal with on a day celebrating mothers. I can offer no words of comfort there because I’m almost sure there are none.

Maybe you have an ill child , are ill yourself , have an ill mum and are dealing with just try to get through a day.

Maybe Mother’s Day triggers poor mental health , I’ve certainly been feeling as though an anxiety flare up could be on the horizon.

Maybe you are in an abusive relationship. Forcedly estranged from your mum and other family , feeling so alone and trapped . Told what a terrible mother and person you are , that you’re pathetic and useless , that your kids would be better off in care than with you. To you women let me just say this , you are outstanding , you are doing an amazing job in intolerable circumstances and you deserve to be free. You are worthy of love and of kindness , you are worthy of being supported and empowered not kept down and silenced . When the day comes that you are able to leave , all these things will find their way to you because it’s no less than you deserve.


Maybe you don’t have your children with you this mother’s day for one reason or another and there is a painful void .



I don’t have the answers on how to make this day more tolerable , bloody hell I’m here writing a blog post that is basically one long whinge.



All I can offer is that Mother’s Day is just one day . That’s my mantra . Just one day . The next day will be better , less pressured . Surround yourself with people who lessen your pain if you at all possibly can. Fill your own little world with people who make you feel better , even if that just means spending time alone. Me ? I will be having a day with these awesome individuals that make me realise that even the shittiest days can be tolerated. I’ll also be tossing about on social media as per usual so if anyone wants to chat I’ll be around . Whether that’s because you are struggling or you just want a distraction and fancy chatting about trash tv I am your girl ( The seven year switch eh??….looks to be a cracker!! How about Richard from married at first sight??….sorry I digress…)


See you on the other side!!





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We’re all stories in the end….

Today would have been my dad’s birthday. I’ll probably talk about him more than usual to the kids today. Tell stories of when their auntie and I were little , re-tell some of his terrible jokes.

I wrote a post here a few years back now about how my parents are fairytale like to my children. This can be a lovely thing. Over years I guess and with each telling stories are embellished,not wholly accurate details are added and stories and tales we tell about my parents probably aren’t an absolute true reflection of events.

This picture here I remember that day ,my brother and his wife had brought us Easter eggs , the one in my hand was a buttons one and I remember my mam saying how we had too much chocolate and we had to just have a bit . I remember the feel of that bloody awful sofa and itchy cardigan.

I think that’s probably the comfort of time passing ,the pain of grief lessens and chatting about people no longer here keeps their memory alive and in our thoughts.

That said , sometimes even time can play little tricks on your mind. Last week I was at the shops and I noticed some Christmas stock in the sale. It was sets of kids crockery : a plate , bowl and mug that when you stacked up made up a snowman. I had a total nostalgia flashback of a similar set I had as a kid. An immediate thought flickered into my head “I’ll have to ask my mam about that” 

Where the hell did that come from??My mum died nearly 19 years ago!!!

Maybe that’s what the story telling does? Keeps them in mind to the point odd things like that happen.
Freaked me out a little bit I can tell you.

All these thoughts of the stories we tell got me thinking.

I wonder what my children will tell about me in years to come. To their partners,their children,their grandchildren??

What memories will they share of their childhood?
Scary thought!!

I can imagine one of them trying to cajole THEIR child into their uniform for school against a protest of whinges and telling them to think themselves lucky as once their mum took them to school on inset day!

Or cooking dinner for their family recounting the time I made pie but forgot to put greaseproof paper under the baking beads resulting in a baking bead encrusted pie base….yum!!

Will our board game Friday’s get a mention??

The fact I make the best chilli known to man?!

Which days out will be remembered?

Which bits of birthday and Christmas traditions we have now will be passed on to take place in their own homes 20 years from now?

The thing is , as modern parents, there is so much pressure to be #makingmemories of us #livingourbestlife full of #preciousfamilytime and being oh so permanently #blessed . I’ve a feeling though that all our contrived memory making won’t quite pan out (annoyingly) It’ll be the little details ,the almost missed moments that are remembered and taken to heart by the little ones . The disasters and blooper reels of our family lives that are reminisced and laughed about.

There are probably events and memories that my parents would have expected to be high up in things to tell the kids about that I never have.

I barely remember any specific presents I got for Christmas (bar my Big Yellow Teapot – that was awesome!)What I do remember though is that on Christmas Day we used to pile into our parents bed and drink tea before going downstairs to open presents , my dad taking fairy steps to drive us nuts with anticipation.

I’ve no huge memories of days out but I do remember the day we all walked all the way to Hornsea (and back) my sister and I whining and wailing all the way home – I tell that story a lot! 

I don’t remember my poor mam cooking tea day in day out so much as I do my dad’s Sunday Dinner , on the table for us when we got in from our grandma’s ,eating it with the rugby on the radio in the background. 

Really I guess when we’re no longer around all we are are the stories other people tell about us . To me that feels quite powerful. 

To quote The Doctor (anywhere I can shoehorn in a Doctor Who reference the better but it’s actually apt here) 

“We’re all stories in the end .

Let’s make it a good one eh?”

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My parents are a fairytale to my children 

Both of my parents had passed away before my children came along. They’ve never had grandparents provided by me. They’ve no happy memories to share, no stories to pass on to their own children like they have with their grandparents on their dads side.

The effect of parenting without parents on me has, at times, not been pretty. There was always a feeling of inadequacy that I couldn’t give my children the loving grandparents they would have been. I know this is irrational, as irrational as the anger I’ve felt towards my parents at times for not being around. Emotions can be irrational and nonsensical though can’t they, especially when you throw in grief to the mix.

Added to rage and inadequacy are a whole other range of feelings I’ve experienced as a mum without parents.

When the children were babies I had moments of despair where I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and I just needed my mum around to ask what the hell I was meant to do about colic!

I’ve felt jealous of people who did get to spend time with my mam and dad, who got to know them and be loved  by them when my children never would.

I’ve been envious of other mums who have their parents to lean on for support and speak of how they don’t know how they’d manage without their help.

I’ve done IT’S NOT FAIR like a toddler.

These are all fleeting feelings though. The only emotion to stick around for the long haul is a sadness. It is really sad that my children never got to meet their grandparents, it’s sad we’ll never get to see how those relationships would have turned out and developed.

My children know of their grandparents though.

My house is full of old photographs, some of my parents. They’ve been up in the house as long as we’ve lived here. They’re familiar to the kids. They’re part of what makes up ‘home’

Mainly though, my parents are fairytales to my children.

They’re a series of stories I tell and repeat.They are faces in the photos.

When I talk to the kids of how my mam made the best pattie and chips and attempt (and fail) to recreate it they’ll giggle at how they hope hers was better.

When youngest boy is watching Only Fools and Horses or Fawlty Towers (he bloody loves them! ) I’ll tell him how my dad loved  them too and find particular episodes he’d made me watch with him.

When the children and I are carrying out our little family Christmas rituals I chat about what we used to do as kids. Through the years we’ve incorporated some old traditions  into ours (post lunch board games and Christmas day buffet tea for example) and that always makes me feel there’s a connection there.

Maybe being a fairytale isn’t so bad, maybe being a familiar character in a familiar story has an endearing charm of it’s own.

My children never knew their grandparents but they do have memories after all I think. Kept alive in my telling them the stories.
After all, fairytales are magical and familiar and comforting and if that’s how the grandparents they didn’t meet feel to them then that’s a whole ‘happy ever after’ of its own.


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An unexpected bout of grief..

My parents died more than 18 years ago. Before I was a mum, before the relationship I was in became abusive (he’d moved himself in before the funeral though should have been a clue in hindsight) , before I became an adult. So I should surely be ‘over it’ by now?
I am of course fine the majority of the time. I live my life , I constantly tell stories to my children about the grandparents they never met. Chats with my siblings about our parents usually end in giggles rather than tears.

Grief is a weird emotion though, unlike any other I think. It allows you to function after the raw all encompassing period ends. It allows you to do the most normal of everyday tasks. However it’s a little like a door left open a tiny crack, which at anytime can be shoved open with such a huge force it cracks the adjoining wall leading the whole house to fall on top of you.

Things that set off the stomach wrenching, whole body ache of missing someone happen less and less over time, in my experience. The first year is the worst. First Christmas, first birthday, and the times you hear juicy gossip and think how you can’t wait to tell… Oh you can’t, that person does not exist anymore.

People are right when they give you the ‘time is a healer’ line. As years goes on it usually takes something significant to make you feel the grief as raw as that first year. For me, having my first child was a massive one. Looking at my son, loving him so utterly and realising, for the very first time that that’s how my parents must have felt about me. That was a tough one.

Last week though, I had an unexpected hit of grief. One of those ones where it is absolutely necessary to cry loudly, produce more snot than you believed possible and do the whole curl up in a ball thing. (and don’t get me wrong I felt so much better for it)
It was all Up, the movie fault. It’s always going to make you shed a tear. That first ten minutes is a sob athon right there. The thing that caused the kick to the tummy, grief ridden blow for me though, was when my little girl turned to me and asked why was the man still talking to his wife when she was dead. Understandable question. Now as much as I tried to get the line ” because he still loves her so much” from my brain to my mouth, my trembling lip would not let it happen. It was like the opposite of being told not to laugh and giggles sneaking out. Thankfully, little girl wasn’t really looking for an answer and was soon distracted by talking dogs,  so I got to go and have a good cry, without too much bother.

I do talk to my parents a bit. It’s usually phrases such as ” so what the hell am I meant to do now? ” and ” you could’ve stuck around a little longer to help me with this ” I’m not sure I noticed I did it though, until my little girl asked the question. Maybe, thinking about it now, the correct answer would have been, ” because it’s too hard to let go forever”

I’m still not sure though why such a simple thing set me off.I don’t know what the next thing will be in years to come, which is where grief is quite powerful really. In a way it’s reassuring. That total and utter void that comes in the immediate aftermath of losing someone is gone. It does no harm at all though to be reminded from time to time that that little chink from your heart is still missing.

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