The first two weeks of July each year is one of reflection and sadness. On the 6th July 1997 Mark, my 1st husband and father of my two eldest kids, died at the age of 41. It was sudden. Although Mark and I had divorced several years early, he was still my friend and my rock and I loved him dearly. I miss his voice and I miss our long discussions on raising our children as divorced parents – we were the role models of a happily divorced couple. I reflect on our life together and wonder if we stayed together, would he still be alive? He died of an cerebral aneurysms so the likelihood he’d be alive today is, well it’s unlikely.
This year on Mark’s death anniversary my son visited his grave and my daughter posted the annual tribute to her father on Facebook. This year was probably the 1st time in a while I didn’t post about Mark’s death on Facebook. To be honest I forgot until I saw my daughter’s post and with the outpouring of sympathy and support for her, I remembered that my father’s death date loomed. But my grief will go without any fanfare or outpouring of love and support not even from my kids – they didn’t know him. I might post a tribute on Facebook but I think I’ll just have a pity party for one!
My father died on the 9th July 1981. I was twenty with a three-month old baby girl. I had no time to grieve my father’s death. The moment I found out, I had to toughen up and support my mother, plan a funeral with my brother and find out how mum could access some money to live on as dad handled all the finances. To make matters worse mum was an emotional mess. I knew she would be as she was always an emotional women, cried at the drop of a hat. I could never work out why she was so emotional when I was so hardened, if only I knew then what I know now. I also found out later that my brother had his own burden to bare as he found our adoption papers the day dad died – secrets take their toll on everyone and they certainly took their toll on mum.
All this going on and I was struggling to breast feed a hungry baby!
As months wore on, I spent nearly every day with mum. I loved her dearly and loved her company and her help raising my daughter. Three years later I had a son and nothing changed with my daily routine. Then mum found out she had cancer. I was 23 by this time. Mum wasn’t a well woman at the best of times, she had high blood pressure and was always on nerve tables as she called them, we call them Valium. As a diabetic I watched her administer injections twice a day. I had to learn to do it myself. I learnt using an orange as I didn’t want to practice on mum, I might hurt her. To this day I’ve never needled anyone.
One year after having my son and mum being diagnosed with cancer, Mark came home from the pub one night and told me about a conversation he had with my brother – he found our adoption papers. It wasn’t a revelation for me, I had already suspected but the last time I thought about it was 6 months before my dad died, I was pregnant and I told the midwife I was unsure about my family health history because I suspected I was adopted.
Here I was, 24 years old, looking after two kids and an emotional mum dying of cancer and all I wanted to do was ask her 1000 questions but I had to put my feeling’s and question’s aside, at least for the time being, or until I couldn’t bare the silence anymore – which by the way took nine long months. When I finally broke my silence the conversation was quick and we barely spoke about it again. Over the next six years my marriage to Mark broke down, my fault, and I had another child to husband number two all the while supporting mum as much as I could. I didn’t have as much help from mum’s sister as my nan’s health deteriorated during the ten years since dad died so it was all on me and I was becoming an emotional wreck although you wouldn’t know it because I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve, I still don’t.
Within three months after my 30th birthday, my beloved nan died and one week later my mum died. Which brings me to today 7 July 2018, two day’s before the 37th anniversary of the death of my dad. The anniversary that kicked off a ten year cycle taking in every year of my 20’s. Being a responsible adult, mother of three, carer for my dying mum, watching my nan deteriorate, the breakdown of my marriage and for most of those ten years holding in a thousand questions on my beginnings, all the while secretly searching for the mystery birth mother I knew very little about.
37 years ago, this very day, I was a new mum with a wonderful husband, amazing parents and a great brother. It was pretty much the last time I had very little to worry about except for how in the hell I was going to get this baby to sleep more than 3 hours without doing as my dad advised, putting a bit of brandy in her bottle.
To you dad, I don’t have any brandy but I have wine and I’ll tip my glass to you and to the 37th anniversary since I last saw you and the 37th anniversary of the last two almost care-free days of my life.
The Pity Party Train has just derailed at the corner of
Suck It Up & Move On, and crashed into We All Have
Problems, before coming to a stop at Get The Hell over It!
#sodramatic #wintercold #woewoeisme